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Renew Australia Bill 2016
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Part 2 Renew Australia

Division 1 Establishment

9   Establishment

             (1)  Renew Australia is established by this section.

             (2)  Renew Australia:

                     (a)  is a body corporate; and

                     (b)  must have a seal; and

                     (c)  may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property; and

                     (d)  may sue and be sued.

Note:          The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 applies to Renew Australia. That Act deals with matters relating to corporate Commonwealth entities, including reporting and the use and management of public resources.

             (3)  Renew Australia’s seal is to be kept in such custody as the Board directs and must not be used except as authorised by the Board.

             (4)  All courts, judges and persons acting judicially must:

                     (a)  take judicial notice of the imprint of the seal of Renew Australia appearing on a document; and

                     (b)  presume that the document was duly sealed.

Division 2 Functions

10   Functions—general

             (1)  Renew Australia has the following functions:

                     (a)  its law reform functions (see section 11);

                     (b)  its advice function (see section 12);

                     (c)  its renewable energy » project functions (see section 13);

                     (d)  to support communities and workers affected by the closure of coal-fired power stations to adapt, including by helping to attract new industries to affected areas;

                     (e)  any other functions conferred on Renew Australia by this Act or any other law of the Commonwealth;

                      (f)  to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of the above functions.

Note:          Other functions may be conferred on Renew Australia by State or Territory laws (see section 16).

             (2)  In performing its functions, Renew Australia must act in a proper, efficient and effective manner.

11   Law reform functions

             (1)  Renew Australia’s law reform functions are:

                     (a)  to review Commonwealth, State and Territory laws relating to electricity generation and propose changes to those laws for the purpose of achieving the new « energy » objectives; and

                     (b)  to consult with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments about the proposed changes; and

                     (c)  after consulting as mentioned in paragraph (b), to recommend to the Minister changes to Commonwealth laws for the purpose of achieving the new « energy » objectives; and

                     (d)  to publish the results of reviews mentioned in paragraph (a), and the changes recommended under paragraph (c), on its website.

New « energy » objectives

             (2)  The new « energy » objectives are as follows:

                     (a)  to achieve a transition in generating electricity in Australia, so that by 2030:

                              (i)  90% of electricity generated in Australia is derived from renewable « energy » sources; and

                             (ii)  electricity generation capacity in Australia is increased to 358 TWh, to allow for the electrification of non-electrified sectors;

                     (b)  to phase out the generation of electricity in Australia from fossil fuels;

                     (c)  to maintain supply of electricity in Australia while the transition mentioned in paragraph (a) is achieved;

                     (d)  to lower « energy » costs to households and businesses, including by enabling them to become generators of electricity from renewable « energy » sources;

                     (e)  to make Australia a destination of choice for industry seeking reliable and « clean » « energy » ;

                      (f)  to have a national electricity grid that is suited to the transition mentioned in paragraph (a) and to which generators of electricity from renewable « energy » sources have a right to connect.

Timetable for closure of coal-fired power stations

             (3)  In performing its law reform functions, Renew Australia must have regard to a timetable for the staged closure of coal-fired power stations, being:

                     (a)  the timetable set out in Schedule 1; or

                     (b)  another timetable determined by Renew Australia and published on its website within 12 months after the commencement of this section.

Investment in the national electricity grid

             (4)  In performing its law reform functions in relation to investment in the national electricity grid, Renew Australia must have regard to the following principles:

                     (a)  any new investment in the national electricity grid must be compatible with the new « energy » objectives;

                     (b)  the method for approving investment in the national electricity grid at the commencement of this section (including the Regulated Asset Base model of guaranteeing returns on investment) should be replaced with a method appropriate to achieving the new « energy » objectives.

Complementary legislation desirable

             (5)  In proposing and consulting about changes under paragraph (1)(b), Renew Australia must have regard to the desirability of the changes being implemented through complementary Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation.

             (6)  If after consulting as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b), Renew Australia considers that it will not be possible for the changes to be implemented through complementary legislation, the recommendations mentioned in paragraph (1)(c) must assume that the changes will be implemented entirely through Commonwealth legislation.

Draft legislation to accompany recommendations to Minister

             (7)  The changes recommended under paragraph (1)(c) and published under paragraph (1)(d) must be accompanied by draft legislation to implement the changes.

When recommendations must be given to Minister

             (8)  Renew Australia must give the Minister recommendations for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c):

                     (a)  within 12 months after the commencement of this section; and

                     (b)  at such other times as it thinks fit.

12   Advice function

             (1)  Renew Australia’s advice function is to provide advice to the Minister and Commonwealth, State and local governments for the purpose of achieving the new « energy » objectives, including advice about the following:

                     (a)  the sources of renewable « energy » that should be used to generate electricity at particular locations for the purpose of achieving those objectives;

                     (b)  whether a particular electricity generation project is likely to achieve one or more of those objectives;

                     (c)  models for guaranteeing returns on investment in relation to electricity generation projects;

                     (d)  how communities and workers affected by the closure of coal-fired power stations can adapt, including by attracting new industries to affected areas.

             (2)  Renew Australia must publish any advice given under subsection (1) on its website.

13   Renewable « energy » project functions

             (1)  Renew Australia’s renewable « energy » project functions are:

                     (a)  to build, finance, own or operate renewable « energy » projects; and

                     (b)  to run reverse auctions for new private sector renewable « energy » projects.

             (2)  Renew Australia may only take action mentioned in subsection (1) if Renew Australia considers that it is in the public interest to do so in order to achieve the new « energy » objectives.

             (3)  In determining whether it is in the public interest to take particular action mentioned in paragraph (1)(a), Renew Australia must have regard to:

                     (a)  whether it is desirable for the action to be taken by a government body; and

                     (b)  any other matter Renew Australia considers relevant.

             (4)  For the purposes of this section a renewable « energy » project includes a project that involves the generation, storage, transmission or distribution of « energy » from renewable sources.

14   Functions—constitutional limits

                   Renew Australia may perform its functions under this Act only:

                     (a)  for purposes relating to a corporation to which paragraph 51(xx) of the Constitution applies; or

                     (b)  for purposes related to external affairs, including:

                              (i)  giving effect to the Climate Change Convention, including by investing in « clean » « energy technologies that could reasonably be expected to control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; or

                             (ii)  giving effect to another international agreement to which Australia is a party; or

                            (iii)  addressing matters of international concern; or

                            (iv)  by way of the performance of its functions in a place outside Australia; or

                     (c)  for purposes relating to the collection of statistics; or

                     (d)  for purposes relating to trade or commerce:

                              (i)  between Australia and places outside Australia; or

                             (ii)  among the States; or

                            (iii)  within a Territory, between a State and a Territory or between 2 Territories; or

                     (e)  by way of the use of a postal, telegraphic, telephonic or other like service within the meaning of paragraph 51(v) of the Constitution; or

                      (f)  by way of the provision of service, or financial assistance, to:

                              (i)  the Commonwealth; or

                             (ii)  an authority of the Commonwealth;

                            for a purpose of the Commonwealth; or

                     (g)  for purposes relating to a Territory; or

                     (h)  with respect to a Commonwealth place (within the meaning of the Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970 ); or

                      (i)  for purposes relating to the relations of the Commonwealth with the islands of the Pacific; or

                      (j)  for purposes relating to the implied power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to nationhood; or

                     (k)  for purposes relating to the executive power of the Commonwealth; or

                      (l)  for purposes relating to matters incidental to the execution of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament or the executive power of the Commonwealth.

15   Functions—Minister may give directions

             (1)  The Minister may give written directions to Renew Australia about the performance of its functions.

             (2)  Directions given by the Minister under subsection (1) must be of a general nature only.

             (3)  Renew Australia must comply with any direction given by the Minister under subsection (1).

             (4)  A direction given by the Minister under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.

16   Commonwealth consent to conferral of functions etc. on Renew Australia by State and Territory laws

             (1)  A law of a State or Territory may confer powers or functions, or impose duties, on Renew Australia.

Note:          Section 18 sets out when such a law imposes a duty on Renew Australia.

             (2)  Subsection (1) does not authorise the conferral of a power or function, or the imposition of a duty, by a law of a State or Territory to the extent to which:

                     (a)  the conferral or imposition, or the authorisation, would contravene any constitutional doctrines restricting the duties that may be imposed on Renew Australia; or

                     (b)  the authorisation would otherwise exceed the legislative power of the Commonwealth.

             (3)  Renew Australia cannot exercise a power, or perform a duty or function, under a law of a State or Territory without the written approval of the Minister.

17   How duty is imposed on Renew Australia by State and Territory laws

Application

             (1)  This section applies if a law of a State or Territory purports to impose a duty on Renew Australia.

Note:          Section 18 sets out when such a law imposes a duty on Renew Australia.

State or Territory legislative power sufficient to support duty

             (2)  The duty is taken not to be imposed by this Act (or any other law of the Commonwealth) to the extent to which:

                     (a)  imposing the duty is within the legislative powers of the State or Territory concerned; and

                     (b)  imposing the duty by the law of the State or Territory is consistent with the constitutional doctrines restricting the duties that may be imposed on Renew Australia.

Note:          If this subsection applies, the duty will be taken to be imposed by force of the law of the State or Territory (the Commonwealth having consented under section 16 to the imposition of the duty by that law).

Commonwealth legislative power sufficient to support duty but State or Territory legislative powers are not

             (3)  If, to ensure the validity of the purported imposition of the duty, it is necessary that the duty be imposed by a law of the Commonwealth (rather than by the law of the State or Territory), the duty is taken to be imposed by this Act to the extent necessary to ensure that validity.

             (4)  If, because of subsection (3), this Act is taken to impose the duty, it is the intention of the Parliament to rely on all powers available to it under the Constitution to support the imposition of the duty by this Act.

             (5)  The duty is taken to be imposed by this Act in accordance with subsection (3) only to the extent to which imposing the duty:

                     (a)  is within the legislative powers of the Commonwealth; and

                     (b)  is consistent with the constitutional doctrines restricting the duties that may be imposed on Renew Australia.

             (6)  Subsections (1) to (5) do not limit section 16.

18   When State and Territory laws impose a duty on Renew Australia

                   For the purposes of sections 16 and 17, a law of a State or Territory imposes a duty on Renew Australia if:

                     (a)  the law confers a power or function on Renew Australia; and

                     (b)  the circumstances in which the power or function is conferred give rise to an obligation on Renew Australia to exercise the power or to perform the function.

Division 3 Powers, privileges and immunities

19   Renew Australia’s powers

             (1)  Renew Australia has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions.

             (2)  Renew Australia’s powers include, but are not limited to, the following powers:

                     (a)  the power to enter into contracts;

                     (b)  the power to erect buildings;

                     (c)  the power to occupy, use and control any land or building owned or held under lease by the Commonwealth and made available for the purposes of Renew Australia;

                     (d)  the power to acquire, hold and dispose of real or personal property;

                     (e)  the power to provide financial assistance (whether by way of loan, grant, investment, award or otherwise and whether on commercial terms or otherwise);

                      (f)  the power to provide guarantees;

                     (g)  the power to raise money, by borrowing or otherwise;

                     (h)  the power to provide or administer services, facilities, programs or equipment;

                      (i)  the power to do anything incidental to any of its powers.

             (3)  The powers of Renew Australia may be exercised within or outside Australia.

20   Renew Australia does not have privileges and immunities of the Crown

                   Renew Australia does not have the privileges and immunities of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth.