The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) forms a key part of the Australian Federal Government’s Direct Action Plan to address climate change. Under the model, successful bidders in an ERF auction enter into “carbon abatement contracts” with the Clean Energy Regulator. These contracts require the bidder to provide carbon abatement to the Regulator according to an agreed schedule.
Previously, carbon abatement contracts may have been considered “derivatives” and “financial products” for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the Act) and Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) (Regulations). This characterisation would have subjected ERF participants to onerous regulatory burdens under the Act and Regulations (such as the requirement to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence).
To ensure that persons are not burdened by these regulatory obligations simply because they regularly enter into contracts with the Clean Energy Regulator, the Corporations Amendment (Emissions Reduction Fund Participants) Regulation 2015 (the Amendments) exempt carbon abatement contracts from the definitions of “derivative” and “financial product”.
The Amendments will commence the day after they are registered on the Australian Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.