Other legislation, government policies and governance events
PGPA Act 2013 and compliance with finance law
As a corporate Commonwealth entity, CEFC activities are governed by the PGPA Act and its subordinate instruments. The PGPA Act imposes various duties, responsibilities and accountabilities on the CEFC Board (both as a collective and as individuals) and on the CEFC Executive and employees.
There were no significant issues of non-compliance with finance law identified and reported to the responsible Ministers in 2019–20. Note 1 to the Financial Statements contains more information about how the PGPA Act impacts the financial governance of the organisation and the preparation of the accounts.
Other statutory requirements affecting the CEFC
As a corporate Commonwealth entity which participates actively and commercially in the finance sector, the CEFC complies with a range of other statutory reporting requirements. An Index to Annual Reporting Requirements can be found at Appendix A.
Independent Review in project and investment decisions
On 2 March 2020, the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction requested the Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to lead an independent review of CEFC project and investment decisions relating to peer-to-peer lender RateSetter (since renamed Plenti). The CEFC has participated fully with the Independent Review. At the time of writing the final report was pending release.
Australian National Audit Office Performance Audit
During 2019–20 the ANAO conducted an audit of the CEFC to ‘assess the effectiveness of the selection, contracting and ongoing management of investments … and the extent to which the CEFC is meeting its legislated objective’. At the time of writing, the ANAO report had not been released.
There were no other reports about the CEFC from the Auditor-General in 2019–20 apart from the Independent Auditor’s Report accompanying the financial statements, as reproduced in the CEFC 2018–19 Annual Report.
Judicial decisions and parliamentary committees
The CEFC is not aware of any judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals in 2019–20 that have had, or may have, a significant effect on the operations of the CEFC. There were also no particular reports about the CEFC made by the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Report for 2018–19 disclosed the CEFC as an agency which had received fewer than four public interest disclosures.
As far as the CEFC is aware, the only Parliamentary Committee report which substantially involved the CEFC during 2019–20 was the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee Report on Additional Estimates 2019–20 (March 2020).
The CEFC was made aware that in this section of the CEFC 2018–19 Annual Report an additional Committee report should have been disclosed, being the Report of the Senate Select Committee on Electric Vehicles, delivered in January 2019.
Other government policy
The CEFC works closely with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and other portfolio agencies, including ARENA, to contribute to the delivery of Australian Government policy initiatives. In 2019–20, specific examples included the formal secondment of CEFC employees to the Underwriting New Generation Investments (UNGI) program, as well as contribution to the development of the Technology Investment Roadmap.
As a corporate Commonwealth entity we are not formally bound by many Australian Government policies (such as those applicable to Public Service Act 1999 agencies). However, the CEFC applies policy guidance on matters distributed by central authorities (such as the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC)) in a range of areas (an example is in respect to workplace bargaining and remuneration policy). Such policies are applied by the CEFC on a case-by-case basis having regard to the particular policy and the CEFC circumstances. For example, most recently, the CEFC has chosen to align with recent APSC guidance on wage restraint during the COVD-19 pandemic, with more detail provided in Appendix G.