Media Release: Attempt to rebrand the NCCC falls flat
27 July: Today’s announcement of new members of the National Covid-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) fails to address concerns about its secretive nature and the connection between key members and the fossil fuel industry, according to 350 Australia.
“In the face of public outcry, the Prime Minister is attempting to rebrand the NCCC – but today’s announcement does nothing to address potential conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency.
“The Chair of the NCCC, Nev Power, is the director of a gas company and a significant shareholder – yet he is involved in making recommendations to the Government about gas projects. The potential for conflicts of interest is clearly not being properly managed.
“The NCCC remains a handpicked body of corporate executives, many of whom have strong links to the fossil fuel industry and the biggest polluting companies in the country. The Prime Minister should be putting those most vulnerable to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic at the heart of its recovery plan, not fossil fuel executives.
“After our devastating summer of bushfires and drought, it’s outrageous that the Government is promoting dirty fossil fuel projects instead of embracing an economic recovery that puts people above gas corporations, and tackles the climate crisis while creating millions of sustainable jobs.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about restoring trust, he must ensure anyone advising the Government on the critically important economic recovery plans are representative of the Australian community, there is a transparent process for managing conflicts of interest, and there is full transparency about what recommendations are being made to the Government.”
The NCCC has been plagued by controversy since it was first announced in March. Concerns that have come to light include:
- Multiple members of the NCCC have strong links to the gas industry, including direct interests in the development of gas projects that were later named as priorities in a leaked report by the Manufacturing Working Group under the NCCC. The final Manufacturing Working Group report to the government has not been released.
- Nev Power is being paid $267,345 for his initial 6-month position, comprising his salary and expenses. Other Commissioners are receiving $2,000 a day.
- Nev Power has stepped back from board duties at gas company Strike Energy due to perceived conflicts of interest, but he remains a board member and major shareholder.
- Andrew Liveris has not been required to declare conflicts of interest, despite being on the Board of Saudi Aramco and Worley, as he has been appointed a “special advisor” to the NCCC rather than a Commissioner.
- A number of legal and integrity organisations, and Independent MP Zali Steggal, have raised the alarm about the lack of transparency and governance standards established for the NCCC.
- Environment groups have raised concerns that the NCCC has falsely claimed to have consulted with them.
For comment contact Lucy Manne on 0417 387 516