Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Renew Australia Bill 2017
Go To First Hit

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

RENEW AUSTRALIA BILL » 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Di Natale)



RENEW AUSTRALIA « BILL » 2017

 

OUTLINE

 

Australia’s « energy » system is in transition, leading to significant disruption as old generators close and new generation and storage technologies transform how we produce and consume « energy » .

 

The old « energy » system, extensively privatised and managed with outdated rules and institutions is not adequately managing the transition.

 

The Australian Greens committed at the last election to establish a new government authority, Renew Australia, which will be responsible for managing the transition of our « energy » system by planning and delivering on a 15 year pipeline of « clean » « energy » projects and managing the closure of coal power plants to enable Australia to meet an overall renewable « energy » target of 90% by 2030.

 

Renew Australia will also be responsible for assisting workers and communities affected by the phase out of fossil fuel power stations.

 

The Renew Australia « Bill » 2017 establishes Renew Australia, an independent public authority to plan and drive the transition to a new « clean » « energy » system.

 

Renew Australia has law reform functions, an advice function, and renewable « energy » project functions, relating to achieving the new « energy » objectives.

 

Renew Australia will drive Australia’s transformation into a « clean » « energy » powerhouse and utilise a combination of mechanisms, including:

 

·          driving down costs and creating a highly-skilled, « clean » « energy » workforce through a staged pipeline of construction projects over the next 15 years;

·          accessing capital raised by the Commonwealth for publicly owned and operated « clean » « energy » assets and contracting with « clean » « energy » companies to build these renewable « energy » power plants;

·          running ‘reverse’ auctions for the construction of lowest cost « clean » « energy » assets, with a preference awarded to community owned « energy » projects and those projects that commit to buy their materials and employ people locally;

·          encouraging workers to purchase « energy » infrastructure through superannuation funds which hold billions of dollars available to be invested in nationally significant infrastructure;

·          negotiating « clean » power supply deals to attract « energy » intensive, 21st century industries to Australia like data centres, battery gigafactories, carbon fibre construction and advanced manufacturers;

·          attracting construction and employment to areas that are undergoing structural challenges arising from the global « energy » transformation;

·          carrying out the necessary planning work in securing location for « clean » « energy » projects, organising grid connections and setting the timing of construction projects;

·          managing the phase out of fossil fuel power stations by working with the « energy » market regulators to ensure coal and gas plants are switched off at times which ensure no threat to electricity supply;

·          administering the « Clean » « Energy » Transition Fund to provide a just transition for workers and communities affected by the shutdown of coal and gas power stations and the mines which supply them by providing retraining, industry assistance and other support; and

·          working with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australian Renewable « Energy » Agency (ARENA), « Clean » « Energy » Finance Corporation (CEFC) and new « energy » companies in order to bring Australian « clean » technology innovation right through to full commercial deployment and ready for export.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Part 1 - Preliminary

Clause 1: Short Title

1.         This is a formal provision and specifies that the short title of the « Bill » , once enacted, may be cited as the Renew Australia Act 2017 .

Clause 2: Commencement

2.         This clause p rovides that the Sections 1-3 of the Act will commence on the day the Act receives the Royal Assent. Sections 4-66 and Schedule 1 will commence on a single day to be fixed by Proclamation. However if the provisions do not commence within a 6 month period from the date this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

Clause 3: Objects

3.         This clause lists the objects of the « Bill » : to help reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution by transforming Australia’s electricity system; to create a new statutory authority to oversee the transformation of this system; to achieve new « energy » objectives; to ensure a transition plan for affected communities; and to ensure that the closure of coal fired power stations happens in a planned manner.

Clause 4: Simplified outline of this Act

4.         This clause provides a simplified outline the Act.

Clause 5: Definitions

5.         This clause outlines definitions in the Act.

Clause 6: Crown to be bound

6.         This clause states that the Act will bind the Crown in all its capacities.



 

Clause 7: Extension to external Territories 

7.         This clause states that this Act extends to every external Territory.

Clause 8: Extra-territorial application

8.         This clause states that this Act extends to acts, omissions, matters and things outside Australia.

Part 2 - Renew Australia

Division 1 - Establishment

Clause 9: Establishment

9.         This clause establishes Renew Australia as a body corporate that must have a seal, may acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property and may sue and be sued.

Division 2 - Functions

Clause 10: Functions - general

10.       This clause provides for the general functions of Renew Australia including law reform, advice, renewable « energy » project, support to affected communities and workers and any other functions conferred on it by this Act or other law. Renew Australia can do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of the above functions.

Clause 11: Law reform functions

11.       This clause provides that Renew Australia’s law reform functions are to review and propose changes to Commonwealth, State and Territory laws relating to electricity generation, to consult with Commonwealth, State and Territory governments about the proposed changes, to recommend Commonwealth law changes to the Minister and to publish reviews and proposals on its website. This clause also:

·          provides the new « energy » objectives of Renew Australia;

·          provides Renew Australia’s responsibility to lay out a timetable for planned closure of coal-fired power stations;

·          outlines Renew Australia’s principles for investment in the national electricity grid.

·          provides that Renew Australia must consider the desirability of complementary Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation when considering law reform under paragraph (1)(b);

·          states that if complementary legislation is not possible, recommended changes must assume that the changes will be implemented through Commonwealth legislation;

·          states that recommended changes must be accompanied by draft legislation; and

·          states that Renew Australia must give the Minister recommendations for law reform within 12 months of commencement and at other times as it thinks fit.

Clause 12: Advice function

12.       This clause outlines that Renew Australia will provide advice to the Minister and Commonwealth, State and Local governments in relation to the new « energy » objectives including sources of renewable « energy » , particular electricity generation projects, models for return on investment on electricity generation projects and how affected communities and workers can adapt.

Clause 13: Renewable « energy » project functions

13.       This clause outlines Renew Australia’s renewable « energy » project functions to build, finance, own or operate renewable « energy » projects and run reverse auctions for new private sector renewable « energy » projects. This clause also states that Renew Australia may only take action that is in the public interest.

Clause 14: Functions - constitutional limits  

14.       This clause provides the constitutional limits under which Renew Australia operates.

Clause 15: Minister may give directions  

15.       This clause sets out the directions that the Minister may give to Renew Australia.

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

16.       This clause states that a law of a State or Territory may confer powers or functions on Renew Australia.

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

17.       This clause outlines how duty is imposed on Renew Australia by State and Territory laws.

Clause 18: When State and Territory laws impose duty on Renew Australia

18.       This clause outlines when State and Territory laws impose duty on Renew Australia.

Division 3 - Power, privileges and immunities

Clause 19: Renew Australia’s Powers

19.       This clause sets out Renew Australia’s powers.

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

20.       This clause provides that Renew Australia does not have the privileges and immunities of the Crown.

Part 3 - Board of Renew Australia

Division 1 - Establishment and functions

Clause 21: Establishment

21.       This clause establishes the Renew Australia Board.

Clause 22: Functions of the Board

22.       This clause sets out the functions of the Renew Australia Board.

Division 2 - Board Members

Clauses 23-32

23.       These clauses provide for the membership, appointment, remuneration, leave of absence, resignation and termination of board members and the chair of the board.

Division 3 - Meetings of the Board

Clauses 33-39

24.       These clauses set out the practice for meetings and decisions of the board.

Part 4 - Chief Executive Officer, staff and consultants and committees

Division 1 - Chief Executive Office of Renew Australia

Clauses 40-50

25.       These clauses provide for the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer of Renew Australia and sets out the conditions of employment.

Division 2 - Staff and consultants

Clauses 51-52  

26.       These clauses set out the basis under which staff and consultants can be engaged.

Division 3 - Committees

Clauses 53-54

27.       These clauses provide for the establishment of committees to advise or assist the board and sets out the terms in which they are engaged.

Part 5 - Finance

Clause 55: Money payable to Renew Australia

28.       This clause sets out that the Parliament may appropriate money for Renew Australia and that the Finance Minister may give directions about the money payable to Renew Australia. Any written direction given by the Finance Minister is not a legislative instrument.

Clause 56: Application of money by Renew Australia

29.       This clause prescribes that the application of money by Renew Australia may only be applied in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its power or in payment of any remuneration or allowances payable under this Act. As under section 59 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, money that is not immediately required for the purpose of Renew Australia may be invested.

Clause 57: Borrowing from the Commonwealth

30.        This clause provides that the Finance Minister may lend money to Renew Australia out of money appropriated by the Parliament.

Clause 58: Borrowing from persons other than the Commonwealth

31.       This clause sets out that Renew Australia may borrow money from persons other than the Commonwealth with the written approval of the Treasurer. This money may be partly or wholly in foreign currency,

Clause 59: Guarantee of borrowing

32.       This clause determines that the Treasurer may guarantee the money borrowed by Renew Australia from persons other than the Commonwealth.

Clause 60: Renew Australia may give security

33.       This clause provides that Renew Australia may give security over the whole or part of its assets for the performance by Renew Australia of any obligation under section 57 or 58 or the payment to the Commonwealth of amounts paid by the Commonwealth under a guarantee.

Clause 61: Renew Australia may charge fees

34.       This clause determines that Renew Australia may charge fees in relation to its function.

Clause 62: Taxation

35.       This clause sets out that Renew Australia is not subject to taxation under any law of the Commonwealth, State or Territory. A note on this clause prescribes that Renew Australia may be subject to taxation under certain laws, for example, section 66 of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986.

Part 6 - Miscellaneous

Clause 63: Delegation by Renew Australia

36.       This clause provides that Renew Australia may delegate all or any of its powers or functions under this Act to a board member or the CEO. In exercising these powers, the delegate must comply with any directions of Renew Australia.

Clause 64: Delegation by Board

37.       This clause provides that the board may delegate any of its powers or functions under this Act to a board member or the CEO. In exercising these powers, the delegate must comply with any directions of Renew Australia.

Clause 65: Delegation and subdelegation by CEO

38.       This clause provides that the CEO may delegate any CEO powers or functions to a senior member of staff referred to in section 51. In exercising these powers the delegate must comply with any directions of the CEO.

Clause 66: Rules

39.       This clause provides that the Minister may prescribe matters by making rules. These rules cannot create an offence or civil penalty, provide power of arrest, detention, entry search or seizure, impose a tax, determine an amount to be appropriated from the Consolidated Revenue Fun under an appropriation in this Act or directly amend the text of this Act.

Schedule 1 - Timetable for phased closure of coal-fired power stations

Clause 1: Timetable for phased closure of coal-fired power stations

40.       This schedule sets out the proposed timetable for phased closure of coal-fired power stations referred to in subsection 11(3).



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Renew Australia 2016

This « Bill » is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the « Bill »

The « Bill » establishes the Renew Australia, an authority to plan and drive the transition to a new « clean » « energy » system.

 

Human rights implications

This « Bill » does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

This « Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

Senator Di Natale