Conflicts of interest
Under Section 22 of the Australian Energy Market Commission Establishment Act 2004 (SA), AEMC Commissioners must disclose any direct or indirect conflicts of interest in any matter the AEMC is considering. These disclosures are formally minuted and are also published on the AEMC website.
A robust and transparent approach to disclosure of interests is essential to preserve the integrity of the AEMC’s decision-making and to ensure that people with energy sector experience and knowledge are available to serve the Commission.
By law the AEMC and the Commissioners are required:
- 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 AEMC has established processes to put into effect these requirements, (including cases where it is possible that a perception of a conflict of interest might arise).
Any third parties with concerns about possible conflicts of interest are invited to raise them with the AEMC’s Chief Executive.
The AEMC has a policy of open disclosure regarding arrangements by each of the Commissioners for the ongoing management of conflicts of interest.
Mr John Pierce AO was appointed as the full time Chairman of the AEMC by the Governor of South Australia on 2 June 2010. Mr Pierce is appointed in a full time capacity and does not consider that his commitments give rise to any conflicts that require management. Mr Pierce is currently a member of the UNSW Australian School of Business Advisory Council, and has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor (Business), Griffith University. He is also a board member of the Regulatory Policy Institute Advisory Board and the Department of Economics Industry Advisory Board at Macquarie University, and Adjunct Professor in the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor (Business), Griffith University
Dr Brian Spalding was originally appointed as a part time Commissioner of the AEMC by the Governor of South Australia on 19 April 2010. Dr Spalding has been reappointed as a Commissioner on two occasions and his current term as a Commissioner expires on 18 April 2019.
Dr Spalding is currently a member of the Energy Saving Scheme Committee and the Energy Networks Regulation Committee of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, and an advisor on the New South Wales Energy Security Taskforce.
Dr Spalding makes the following statement about the arrangements he has put in place to manage (perceived or actual) conflicts of interest:
- 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.
- Confidential information obtained in my capacity as a Commissioner will not be disclosed or used for purposes other than the proper purposes.
Mr Charles Popple was appointed as a part time Commissioner by the Governor of South Australia on 17 February 2018. Mr Popple is appointed for a period of 5 years and his term expires on 16 February 2023.
Mr Popple does not consider that he has any commitments that give rise to conflicts that require management.
Ms Allison Warburton was appointed as a part time Commissioner by the Governor of South Australia on 12 March 2018. Ms Warburton is appointed for a period of 4 years and her term expires on 11 March 2022.
Ms Warburton was a partner of law firm Minter Ellison prior to her appointment as a Commissioner and currently holds a pecuniary interest in Minter Ellison Administration Pty Ltd for the purposes of enabling a distribution from the firm’s service entity for the 2017/2018 year. In order to manage any perception of conflict, Ms Warburton will absent herself from any decision of the AEMC to appoint external legal counsel to provide advice or representation on any matter until the relevant interest is disposed of or redeemed. This is expected to occur by no later than 30 June 2019.
Mrs Michelle Shepherd was appointed as a part time Commissioner by the Governor of South Australia on 11 June 2018. Mrs Shepherd is appointed for a period of 3 years and her term expires on 10 June 2021.
Mrs Shepherd does not consider that she has any commitments that give rise to conflicts that require management.