Federal Government Fails to Deliver Streamlining for Companies Reporting Energy and Greenhouse Gases

Companies have been hit with onerous energy and greenhouse reporting requirements, requiring companies to collect fuel data to meet the various Federal and State Government requirements.

“The Department of Climate Change and Energy collects fuel data under the National Greenhouse and Energy (NGER) Program and the same Department collects the same energy data from companies 3 months later under the Energy Efficiency Opportunities (EEO) Program” Mr David Newhouse, Partner of Newhouse & Arnold Solicitors, said.

Mr David Newhouse also said that “Companies are also required to report the same fuel data for other Federal and State Government programs, again and again and again and it seems that other Departments cannot access NGERS data reported by companies”.

“Not only is this causing a reporting burden for companies, the NGERS program requires companies to collect every bit of fuel data from a 7kg LPG gas BBQ bottle to 1000s of tonnes of coal, as there is no materiality threshold under the NGER scheme” according to Mr David Newhouse.

The requirements to slice and dice data to meet the Government mandatory NGERS reporting program is onerous and adds little benefit to the companies reporting.

17 months on from when Senator Wong announced in a press release “Government cuts emissions and energy reporting red tape for business”, Senator Wong claimed that:

“Streamlining the greenhouse energy reporting process into a single, national system will reduce the administrative burden for Australian business.”

The red tape continues, companies are reporting the same data that is available under NGERS many times to different Government Departments. Mr David Newhouse is aware that within the last 12 months, the same data has been requested 4-5 times under different Government programs which could have been accessed from the NGERS program.

Not only is the NGERS scheme complex, onerous and provides little benefit for companies reporting, CEOs and Managing Directors of companies can be held personally liable for their data. CEOs are requesting reviews of their program to protect them from being held personally liable.

As at 30 June 2010, 723 companies had registered for the NGERS Program and were required to report their energy and greenhouse gas emissions for FY2010. It is predicted that more than 3000 companies will be required to report on their FY2011 emissions with the mandatory threshold being reduced.

“It is simple, the Government should make the NGERS data available to all Departments, including its own Department of Climate Change, which would prevent Government Departments requesting similar information” Mr David Newhouse said, “and the Government could access data from electricity, gas and petroleum retailers and companies would then only need to report on fuel consumed on site (like coal, woodchip, fuel oils etc.), again reducing the reporting burden for companies”.

For more information, click here for complete NGERS paper by David Newhouse or contact David Newhouse on (02) 9389 3838.

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