EEO program funding changes do not point to a repeal of EEO legislation

EEO program funding changes do not point to a repeal of EEO legislation

Yesterday’s release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) included the expected termination of funding for programs that formed part of the previous government’s Clean Energy legislative package.  As the EEO program has also been funded in recent years from this source, its funding was also terminated from 1 July 2014.  However, there is no indication that the government intends to overturn EEO enabling legislation.  MYEFO only addressed the removal of specific program funding for EEO from Clean Energy Future.

Major points

  • The Department of Industry issued a statement yesterday revealing that support for the program will continue in its current form until 30 June 2014.

  • Participants continue to have planning, assessment and reporting obligations under Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006.  Continuing obligations also include participation in verification programs if requested, and new obligations under the recent extension of the program to cover New Developments.

  • What happens after 1 July 2014?  The Energy Efficiency Opportunities Act 2006 remains in place and it does not contain a sunset clause.  Hence, repeal of the legislation through parliament is required for the assessment and reporting requirements of the EEO program to cease.  To date, there has been no public statement indicating an intention to repeal the Act, and there is an expectation that the legislation will remain at least until the end of Cycle 2 (another 3 years).  Energetics expects the government’s position to become clearer over the coming months.

  • Assuming the Act is not repealed before June 2014, it is likely that the EEO program will continue to be supported within the Department of Industry under normal departmental funding, possibly with lower staffing levels, and focusing on compliance.


Next steps for EEO participants

Energetics will keep you informed of developments.  In the interim, we recommend the following:

  • Continue to meet your obligations as set out in the EEO Act and in your approved EEO Assessment Plans.

  • Explore other ways to drive continuous improvement in energy management within your operations, particularly certification under ISO50001.  For most companies implementing EEO and certified under 140001, this is a relatively small step, and can help to integrate energy into established business systems.

  • Participate in the Energy White Paper process which the government has recently announced to set a direction for Australia’s broader energy policy

 

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