During 2018-19, ARENA’s Portfolio Ministers were the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy until 27 August 2018, and the Hon Angus Taylor MP, who was appointed Minister for Energy on 28 August 2018 and subsequently appointed Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction on 26 May 2019.
The Australian Government included safeguards in the ARENA Act to ensure that ARENA is transparent and accountable in its funding decisions.
Accordingly, the Portfolio Minister must approve ARENA’s GFS and any guidelines for programs that could grant funding in excess of $15 million for projects. The Minister must also approve individual projects where grants more than $50 million are to be awarded.
Ministerial requests and directions
The Minister made no requests of ARENA under section 11 of the ARENA Act and no directions under section 13 of the Act during 2018–19.
The Minister wrote to the Board in April 2019 requesting that it consider investing in a bioenergy roadmap that quantifies opportunities where Australia has a competitive advantage, and identifies impediments to future growth.
Under section 22 of the PGPA Act, the Finance Minister may make a government policy order that specifies a policy of the Government that is to apply to an agency. No such orders were made that apply to ARENA during 2018–19.
Reports to the Minister
ARENA kept the Minister informed about its operations during the year by providing updates on the Agency’s progress towards meeting the objective of the ARENA Act.
It also provided the Minister with reports following each ARENA Board meeting, including key deliberations, meeting outcomes, any material conflicts and significant correspondence.
There were no significant issues reported to the Minister under paragraph 19(1)(e) of the PGPA Act, which includes compliance with Finance law.