Former Treasury head to chair Net Zero Commission

The NSW government has launched the Net Zero Commission with former Treasury Secretary Paul Grimes as its inaugural Chair.

Paul Grimes

The Commission is tasked with monitoring, reviewing and reporting on the state’s progress towards emissions reduction targets established under the 2023 Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act 2023.

It will also educate and inform government, businesses, organisations, and individuals on ways to promote climate change action.

The state government has committed to legislated emissions targets of a 50 per cent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a 70 per cent reduction by 2035, and net zero by 2050.

The government also announced seven Net Zero Commissioners including NSW Chief Scientist Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, as an ex-officio member to provide whole-of-government scientific advice.

Seven commissioners

Dr Grimes, who was also Victorian Public Service Commissioner between 2018-20, has been an independent policy and practice adviser since 2023 and a member of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water emissions reduction committee since April.

He was sacked as federal agriculture secretary in 2015 after a falling out with the then minister Barnaby Joyce.

Climate Minister Penny Sharpe said the Chair and Commissioners brought an impressive range of skills, qualifications and experience spanning climate science, economics and finance, technology and engineering, public administration and the interests of Aboriginal and rural, regional and remote communities.

“I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of these exceptional, eminent individuals to lead the Net Zero Commission,” she said in a statement.

“The strong, independent Net Zero Commission will provide us with expert assessments of our progress in achieving our net zero goals and adapting to our changing climate.

“The Commission will consider all perspectives and help bring government, business and community along the journey towards our ambitious net zero goals.”

The Commission will be directly accountable to NSW Parliament through the recently established Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Net Zero Future.

It is required to prepare annual reports on the state’s progress and to consult with the future NSW Agriculture Commissioner as part of the process.

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