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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee


In Attendance

Senator Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training

Department of the Environment and Energy


Mr Finn Pratt, Secretary

Mr Matt Cahill, Acting Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Operations Group

Mr Dean Knudson, Deputy Secretary, Environment Protection Group

Mr Brad Archer, Acting Deputy Secretary, Climate Change and Energy Innovation Group

Mr Rob Heferen, Deputy Secretary, Energy

Corporate Strategies

Ms Paula Goodwin, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Giorgina Strangio, Assistant Secretary, People Strategies Branch

Ms Linda Nitschke, Chief Finance Officer, Financial Services Branch

General Counsel

Ms Margaret Tregurtha, General Counsel

Policy Analysis and Implementation Division

Dr Rachel Bacon, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Emma Campbell, Assistant Secretary, Strategic Advice Branch

Mr Adam Carlon, Assistant Secretary, Communications, Innovation and Partnerships Branch

Dr Ross Lambie, Assistant Secretary, Economics Branch

Outcome 1

Biodiversity Conservation Division

Ms Kylie Jonasson, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Tia Stevens, Acting Assistant Secretary, Natural Resource Management Branch

Mr Steve Costello, Assistant Secretary, Program Delivery Branch

Mr Matthew Dadswell, Assistant Secretary, Biodiversity Policy and Water Science Branch

Mr Geoff Richardson, Assistant Secretary, Protected Species and Communities Branch

Mr Paul Murphy, Assistant Secretary, Wildlife Trade and Biosecurity Branch

Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner

Environment Standards Division

Mr James Tregurtha, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Mr Bruce Edwards, Assistant Secretary, Policy and Reform Branch

Mr James Barker, Assistant Secretary, Assessments (QLD, VIC, TAS) and Governance Branch

Ms Kim Farrant, Assistant Secretary, Assessments (NSW, ACT) and Waste Branch

Mr Greg Manning, Assistant Secretary, Assessments (WA, SA, NT) and Post Approvals Branch

Mr Andrew McNee, Assistant Secretary, Chemicals Management Branch

Ms Monica Collins, Assistant Secretary, Office of Compliance

Knowledge and Technology Division

Ms Beth Brunoro, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Matthew Whitfort, Assistant Secretary, Environmental Accounts and Science Branch

Mr Sebastian Hood, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Branch

Mr Greg Terrill, Assistant Secretary, Environmental Resources Information Network

Heritage, Reef and Marine Division

Mr Stephen Oxley, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Deb Callister, Assistant Secretary, Reef Branch

Mr David Williams, Assistant Secretary, Heritage Branch

Ms Paula Perrett, Assistant Secretary, Marine and International Heritage Branch

Ms Kate Turner, Director of Supervision and Monitoring Section, Supervising Scientist Branch

Commonwealth Environmental Water Office

Ms Jody Swirepik, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder

Mr Hilton Taylor, Assistant Secretary, Southern Water Use, Aquatic Science and Community Engagement Branch

Mr Mark Taylor, Assistant Secretary, Wetlands, Policy and Northern Water Use Branch

Outcome 2

Climate Change

Ms Helen Wilson, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Gayle Milnes, Assistant Secretary, Industrial and Air Quality Branch

Ms Katrina Maguire, Assistant Secretary, Land and Outreach Branch

Mr Chris Johnston, Assistant Secretary, Climate Change Policy Branch

Mr Joseph Pryor, Director, Industrial Safeguard and Facilities, Industrial and Air Quality Branch

Mr David Jeffery, Air Quality, Industrial and Air Quality Branch

Dr Benjamin Docker, Director, Agriculture

International Climate Change and Energy Innovation Division

Ms Kushla Munro, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Mr Chris Simkus, Director, Clean Energy Technology Finance Section, Energy Innovation and Ozone Protection Branch

Outcome 3

Australian Antarctic Division

Mr Charlton Clark, Acting Director

Dr Gwen Fenton, Chief Scientist

Mr Rob Bryson, Program Manager Modernisation Taskforce

Outcome 4

Energy Division

Mr James Chisholm, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Brenton Philp, Assistant Secretary, Gas and Governance Branch

Mr James O'Toole, Assistant Secretary, Electricity Branch

Mr James White, Assistant Secretary, Clean Energy Branch

Ms Rachel Parry, Assistant Secretary, Energy Productivity Branch

Mr Dwayne Purdy, Director of Gas Policy, Gas and Governance Branch

Mr Paul Locke, Director of Wholesale and Networks, Electricity Branch

Ms Joanne Bright, Director of National Energy Guarantee, Clean Energy Branch

Mr Conrad Buffier , Acting Director of National Energy Guarantee, Clean Energy Branch

Energy Security and Efficiency Division

Mr Sean Sullivan, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Shane Gaddes, Assistant Secretary, Energy International Implementation Branch

Ms Helen Bennett, Assistant Secretary, Energy Security Branch

Ms Fiona Beynon, Director of Fuel Policy Section, Energy Security Branch

Ms Michelle Croker, Assistant Secretary, Appliance and Building Energy Efficiency Branch

Mr Rick Miles, Director of GEMS Strategy, Governance and Analysis Section, Appliance and Building Energy Efficiency Branch

Agencies and Statutory Authorities

Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Mr Ivor Frischknecht, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Ian Kay, Chief Financial Officer

Bureau of Meteorology

Dr Andrew Johnson, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Meteorology

Mr Robert Webb, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Group Executive, National Forecast Services

Ms Jennifer Gale, Group Executive, Corporate Services

Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Mr Ian Learmonth, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Andrew Powell, Chief Financial Officer

Clean Energy Regulator

Mr David Parker, Chair

Mr Geoff Purvis-Smith, General Counsel

Ms Mary-Anne Wilson, Acting General Manager

Mr Mark Williamson, Executive General Manager, Scheme Entry and Entitlement Division

Climate Change Authority

Dr Wendy Craik, Chair

Ms Shayleen Thompson, Acting Chief Executive Officer

Ms Melanie Ford, Acting General Manager

Director of National Parks

Dr Judy West, Acting Director of National Parks

Mr Jason Mundy, Assistant Secretary, Marine Protected Areas Branch

Mr John Gibbs, Assistant Secretary, Joint Management Branch

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Dr Russell Reichelt, Chairman

Ms Margaret Johnson, General Manager, Reef Strategy

Dr Simon Banks, General Manager, Reef Protection

Mr Bruce Elliot, General Manager, Reef Engagement

Ms Ann Leo, General Manager, Corporate Services

Dr David Wachenfeld, Chief Scientist

Snowy Hydro Ltd

Mr Paul Broad, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Mr Roger Whitby, Chief Operating Officer

Committee met at 09:02

CHAIR ( Senator Duniam ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed expenditure for 2018-19 for the Environment and Energy and Communications and the Arts portfolios and certain other documents. The committee may also examine the annual reports of the departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee is due to report to the Senate on Tuesday, 26 June 2018, and has fixed Wednesday, 11 July 2018, as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice. Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions taken on notice.

Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate governing estimates hearings. If you need assistance, please see the secretariat. The Senate has resolved also that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given all reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted.

I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate dated 13 May 2009, which specifies the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised. Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order. Instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document.

I welcome back the minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, representing the Minister for the Environment and Energy.