The Commission considers that a robust and transparent approach to disclosure of interests is essential to preserve the integrity of the decision making of the Commission in the performance of its statutory functions and to ensure that persons with energy sector experience and knowledge are available to serve the Commission.
The Australian Energy Market Commission Establishment Act 2004 of South Australia sets out a statutory regime for ongoing disclosure of conflicts of interest for Commissioners at meetings of the Commission. The law requires the Commission and the Commissioners:
- to identify interests that may fall within a "direct or indirect" interest that could conflict with the proper performance of the Commissioner's functions;
- to manage conflicts of interest if they arise in relation to matters being considered at a meeting of the Commission;
- to disclose any interest of a Commissioner at a meeting of the Commission;
- to record any disclosure of a conflict of interest by a Commissioner in the minutes of the Commission meeting;
- to make a decision about the appropriate action to be taken (if any);
- to record any decision about the appropriate action to be taken (if any) in the minutes of the meeting of the Commission.
The practice at Commission meetings is for a standing agenda item that invites declarations by Commissioners of any conflicts of interest in relation to the matters under consideration at the meeting. The AEMC has established processes to put into effect the requirements set out above. Additionally where information becomes available that indicates it is possible that a perception of a conflict of interest might arise the same processes are applied.
Third parties who have concerns about possible conflicts of interest are invited to raise those concerns with the Chief Executive.
The Commission also recognises a broad public interest in adopting a policy of open disclosure about arrangements put in place by each of the Commissioners for the ongoing management of conflicts of interest. The Commissioners make the statements set out below in relation to those arrangements.
Mr John Pierce was appointed as the full time Chairman of the AEMC by the Governor of South Australia on 2 June 2010. Mr Pierce was nominated for that appointment by the States and Territories Ministers who are members of the Ministerial Council on Energy (MCE). Mr Pierce was, immediately prior to taking up this role, the Secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
Mr Pierce is appointed in a full time capacity and has no conflicts which require management.
Dr Brian Spalding was appointed by the Governor of South Australia effective from 19 April 2010 as a part-time Commissioner nominated by the Minister of the Commonwealth who is a member of the Ministerial Council on Energy. The appointment is for a 3 year period to 18 April 2013.
Dr Spalding was until 31 March 2010 an executive of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). He is currently a member of the Energy Saving Scheme Committee of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal and on the Advisory Group to the Prime Minister's Task Group on Energy Efficiency. He is also a co-chair of the Energy Infrastructure Assurance Advisory Group of the Attorney General's Trusted Information Sharing Network.
Dr Spalding makes the following statement about the arrangements he has put in place to manage (perceived or actual) conflicts of interest:
1. For those Rule changes lodged by AEMO prior to 31 March 2010 any conflict of interest will be dealt with in accordance with the Commission's Conflict of Interest Policy.
2. Any potential involvement on my part in matters relating to the energy sector, which are not within the jurisdiction of the AEMC would be disclosed to the Chairman of the AEMC before being involved in such matters to ensure no potential conflict may arise.
3. Confidential information obtained in my capacity as a Commissioner will not be disclosed or used for purposes other that the proper purposes.
Mr Neville Henderson was appointed by the Governor of South Australia on 19 October 2009 as a part-time Commissioner nominated by the MCE (States and Territories). The appointment is for a 5 year term.
Mr Henderson was previously an Executive Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and anticipates undertaking part-time consulting assignments with PwC. Mr Henderson makes the following statement about the arrangements he has put in place to manage conflicts of interest (perceived or actual):
- I will not involve myself in matters on behalf of PwC of its clients that are within the jurisdiction of the AEMC.
- I will be subject to PwC's rigorous compliance policies and procedures including Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest arrangement and will be "ring-fenced" from any audit, transaction and advisory work which may be undertaken by PwC which is relevant to the jurisdiction of the AEMC.
- Any potential involvement on my part in projects relating to the energy sector, which are not within the jurisdiction of the AEMC would be disclosed to the Chairman of the AEMC before undertaking such a project to ensure no potential conflict arose.
- Confidential information obtained either in my capacity as a Commissioner or a consultant will not be disclosed or used for purposes other that the proper purposes.