28 May 2024

Dr Iain Ross appointed as chair of Net Zero Economy Agency

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Dr Iain Ross will become the NZEA chair from 1 June. Photo: Screenshot.

The Federal Government has appointed Dr Iain Ross AO as acting chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency (NZEA) effective from 1 June, to replace former chair Greg Combet.

The government says Dr Ross’s appointment will be made permanent once legislation to formally establish the agency passes Parliament.

Dr Ross has served as a president of the Fair Work Commission and as a judge of the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Victoria.

His career experience also includes positions as vice-president of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, partner in the workplace relations practice group at Corrs Chambers Westgarth, and assistant secretary of the ACTU.

He will be supported by an independent board, with members to be appointed following legislation passing the Parliament, while a recruitment process for a CEO of the authority will be advertised in June.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said no nation was better placed than Australia to achieve the energy transition at home and power it in the world.

“The Net Zero Economy Authority will play an important role in one of the most significant economic events in Australian history and help position us as a renewable-energy superpower,” he said.

“I would like to thank Mr Combet for his work in setting up the agency, and I welcome incoming chair Dr Ross.”

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the appointment of Dr Ross to the NZEA was a significant step in steering Australia towards a net-zero future.

“His vast experiences will be invaluable in this transformative journey,” he said.

“We are on the cusp of one of the biggest economic shifts since the Industrial Revolution, and I’m confident Dr Ross will play a critical role in helping Australia seize the opportunities of the transformation to becoming a renewable-energy superpower.”

A former union leader and Labor politician, Mr Combet served as the founding chair of the NZEA since July 2023. In January, it was Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced that Mr Combet would assume the role of head of the Future Fund Board of Guardians from mid-2024.

“Reflecting on my tenure as chair of the Net Zero Economy Agency, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude,” Mr Combet said.

“We have made significant strides in advancing Australia’s net-zero initiatives, laying a solid foundation for a sustainable future. It has been an honour to lead a team of dedicated individuals committed to this cause.

“As I pass the baton to Dr Ross, I am confident that his wealth of experience and deep understanding of labour markets and economics will steer the authority towards new heights. His leadership will undoubtedly catalyse the significant economic transformation Australia requires to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

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Dr Ross said he was honoured to take on the role.

“This is a pivotal moment in our history, as we steer the nation on the road of transformation towards a net-zero future,” he said.

“The task ahead is monumental, but I am confident that with our collective efforts, we can turn this challenge into an opportunity for Australia. We have the potential to not only achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 but also to establish the nation as a leader in renewable energy.

“I am committed to leveraging my experiences to guide this transformation. Together, we will navigate the net-zero revolution, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for all Australians.”

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