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New Commonwealth Government Department

The new Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) has now been established. Coming into being on 1 July 2022, the move sees the Government’s climate change and energy priorities represented by the same department responsible for protecting Australia’s environment and water resources.

The Department’s stated purpose is to help address climate change and build a more innovative, future-ready energy system, protect our unique environment, biodiversity and heritage, and manage Australia’s water resources for industry and regional communities. The relevant ministers are Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek, and Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister.

Numerous agencies, bodies and office holders operate under the Department, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Bureau of Meteorology, Climate Change Authority, Director of National Parks, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Murray Darling Bason Authority, the National Environment Protection Council, North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority, Commonwealth Environment Water Holder and the Inspector-General of Water Compliance.

The Secretary of the Department, David Fredericks, has previously worked as a senior ministerial adviser in both State and Commonwealth Government, and at the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Finance and Treasury. He has also held senior positions with the Department of Environment and Energy, at the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Finance, and comes to the role from his position as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

Lyn O’Connell will be Deputy Secretary of the Department, with the National Water Grid Authority and the Water Department both under her. O’Connell has previously served as a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and as the head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture. Stephanie Werner will be Head of Division for the NWGA and Water Infrastructure, while Rachel Connell will be Head of Division for the Water Department.