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Australian Local Power Agency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021

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2019-2020-2021

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

Australian Local PowerAgency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority ofDr Helen Haines MP Member for Indi



Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021

OUTLINE

This Bill makes administrative amendments to createthe operational frameworknecessary for the effective implementation of the Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021 .

The ALPA Bill establishes a new corporate Commonwealth entity, the Australian Local Power Agency (ALPA), which is responsible for driving investment into community energy projects, and for ensuring that regional communities share in the benefitsof renewable energy.

ALPA has three primaryfunctions: to provide financial assistance for the development of community energyprojects; to provide technicalsupport to organisations developing community energyprojects; and to investin community energyprojects.

In addition, ALPA has supplementary functions including the collection and dissemination of researchand information regardingcommunity energy projects, and providing advice to the Minister.

The ALPA Bill sets out a definition of community energy projects, which are renewable energy projects (including energy storage and energy efficiency) mainly carried out by the local community, whose main purpose is to benefit the community, and in which the community has a significant role in decision-making.

The ALPA Bill establishes ALPA as a sister-agency to ARENA and the CEFC. It establishes the ALPA Board and the offices of the ARENA CEO and CFO. It ensures that the Board has requisite knowledge of community energy, renewable energy, regional development, Indigenous community development and natural resource management to properly execute its functions.

Operationally, ALPA’s financial and technical support functions will be guided bya general strategy. The Board is responsible for developing the general strategy and the Minister for approving it. ALPA’s investment function will be guided by an Investment Mandate. The Minister will be responsible for developing the Investment Mandate, and the Board must be consulted in its development. These arrangements mirror the operational design of ARENA’s general financial strategy, and the CEFC’s Investment Mandate.

In addition, the ALPA Bill establishes a new requirement for large renewable energy projects to offer the rights to at least 20% of the profits of a project to individuals living within 30 kilometres of that project. From 1 July 2023, renewable energy projects above 10MW will be required to receive approval from the Minister. That approval may only be granted if the Minister is satisfied, on the advice of ALPA, that locals have been offered a reasonable opportunity to invest the project. If the relevantindividuals opt not to investin a project, once it receives approvalfrom the Minister (on advice of ALPA) it may proceed as usual and seek other investors.

 

RATIONALE

ARENA and the CEFC were established a decade ago and under successive Government have had success in deploying renewable energy. Under current policy settings, this trend of significant investment in renewables in regional Australia will continue, however the benefits of this investment for regional communities are not alwaysapparent.

This Bill establishes ALPA as a sister-agency to ARENA and the CEFC, allowing them to work together to exchange information and invest in community energy projects. Over the last decade, we have successfully created a renewable energy industry. In the next decade, these agencies will now work as a trinityto ensure that that industrycreates lasting prosperity in regional Australia.

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

This Bill will have no financial impact.



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Part 1 - Preliminary Clause1: Short Title

This clause specifies that the Act may be cited as the Australian Local Power Agency (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021.

 

Clause2: Commencement

 

This clause provides for the commencement of the Act at the same time as the Australian Local Power Agency Act 2021 commences. It stipulates that if that Act does not commence, then the provisions of this Act do not commence.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

 

This clause provides that legislation that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out by the relevant schedule, and that any other item in a Schedule to this Act has the effect in accordance with its terms. This clause is the formal enabling provision for the Schedules to the Bill.

 

Schedule - 1

 

Item 1

 

This item repeals and replaces Section73A of the Australian Renewable Energy AgencyAct 2011

which lists bodiesto which ARENAmay disclose information.

 

Currently, section 73A of the ARENA Act empowers ARENA to disclose information to the Clean Energy FinanceCorporation in certaincircumstances.

 

This amendment allows ARENA to disclose information to ALPA in the same way in which it currently discloses information to the CEFC. It makes no changes to the way in which ARENA may disclose information to the CEFC.

 

The purpose of this amendment is to establish the operational framework in which ALPA sits alongside ARENA and the CEFC as sister-agencies, working together to support the development (ARENA), financing (CEFC), and community benefits(ALPA) of renewableenergy.

 

Item 2

 

This item amendssection 9 of the CEFCAct 2012 which outlinesthe functions of the CEFC.

 

Currently, the CEFC is charged with liaising with relevant bodies, including ARENA, the Clean EnergyRegulator, and other bodies, in the exercise of its investment function.

 

This amendment adds ALPA to the list of bodies with whom the CEFC may liaise in the exercise of its investment function.



The purpose of this amendment is to establish the operational framework in which the CEFC and ALPA partner to direct investment into the renewable energy sector. Both the CEFC and ALPA have an investment function, with the CEFC focussed on renewable energy and ALPA focussed on community energy. This amendment allows the CEFC and ALPA to liaise in the exercise of these parallel functions.

 

Item3

 

This item amends Section 75 of the CEFC Act which outlines the bodies to which the CEFC may discloseinformation and in what circumstances.

 

Currently, section 75 of the CEFC Act empowers the CEFC to disclose information to specified bodies if it would assist in the exercise of the CEFC’sinvestment function, or the functionsof the specified bodies.

 

This amendment adds ALPA to the list of specified bodies. The effect of this item is to empower the CEFC to disclose information to ALPA in the same way in which it currently discloses information to other bodies like ARENA. It makes no changes to the way in which the CEFC may disclose information to other bodies.

 

The purpose of this amendment is to establish the operational framework in which ALPA sits alongside ARENA and the CEFC as sister-agencies, working together to support the development (ARENA), financing (CEFC), and community benefits (ALPA)of renewable energy.

 

Item4

 

This item amends section 49 of the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011 which outlines the bodies to which the CER may disclose information and in what circumstances.

 

Currently, section 49 of the CER Act empowers the CER to disclose information to specified bodies if it wouldassist in the exercise of those bodies’functions.

 

This amendment adds ALPA to that list of specified bodies. The effect of this item is to empower the CER to disclose information to ALPA in the same way in which it currently disclosesinformation to other bodies such as the CEFC and ARENA. It makes no changes to the way in which the CER may disclose information to other bodies.

 

The purpose of this amendment is to establish the operational framework in which ALPA is accorded equivalent standing alongside ARENA and the CEFC as sister-agencies.



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

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

 

This Australian Local Power Agency Bill (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021 is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the HumanRights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

The Bill makes consequential amendments to existing Commonwealth Acts and Regulations to provide for theimplementation of the Australian Local Power Agency as provided for in the Australian Local Power AgencyBill 2021.

 

Human rightsimplications

 

The consequential amendments in this Bill are administrative in nature. None of these amendments directlyadvance or limit a relevanthuman right or freedom.

 

To the extent these amendments supportthe commencement of the substantive Bill, the Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021 , these amendments may indirectly engage the human rights or freedoms engagedby the substantive Bill. The substantive Bill iscompatible with human rights.