ARENA Board appointments announced

Angus Taylor

Following the appointment of Justin Punch as new ARENA Chair on July 17, Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor has also announced the appointment of three new ARENA Board members for two-year terms. This includes banker and research analyst John Hirjee, economist and energy consultant Anna Matysek, and technology entrepreneur Justin Butcher.

They will join current board members Stephanie Unwin and Dougal McOmish who have each been reappointed for a further year.

Led by new Chair Mr Punch, Mr Taylor says the new Board encompasses the skills and experience necessary to support ARENA as it works to deliver on priorities under the Technology Investment Roadmap. The new appointees to the Board have strong skills in energy market analytics, strategic planning and investment, which will assist in ensuring the most innovative and effective projects are backed by ARENA.

The new Board members will be supported by the renewable energy expertise and corporate knowledge held by re-appointees Ms Unwin and Mr McOmish who have already successfully supported ARENA in its mission to increase the supply and lower the cost of renewables in Australia.

Related article:AER releases final Customer Service Incentive Scheme

The ARENA Board sets the investment strategies and priorities, oversees the running of the agency, and approves funding for projects up to $50 million.

Mr Taylor said, “I thank the departing board members, the Chair Mr Martijn Wilder AM, Ms Samantha Hogg, Ms Susan Jeanes and Ms Meg McDonald. They have all provided exemplary service to the Board, to ARENA and to Australia’s renewable energy sector”.

About the ARENA Board members

Justin Punch is an experienced environmental investor focused on climate and energy investment. He has extensive experience in carbon offset investments, as well as business and finance having served as a Partner at Archer Capital, one of Australia’s most experienced private equity firms.

John Hirjee is the executive director, Resources, Energy and Infrastructure at ANZ Banking Group. He is an experienced company research analyst and banker in the energy and resource sectors. He has been appointed as a Board member for two years.

Anna Matysek is the Founder and Managing Director of Northbridge Consulting Services and co-founded BAEconomics. She is an experienced economist and consultant. She has expertise in the energy, infrastructure and resources sectors including energy analysis, economic modelling and corporate governance. She has been appointed as a Board member for two years.

Justin Butcher is an entrepreneur and business investor. He is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of MXA Consulting, a successful, start-up technology consulting firm. He is an experienced business mentor providing advice on corporate governance, strategy, business models and leadership to start-ups and other businesses. He has been appointed as a Board member for two years.

Related article:Ipswich City’s first solar farm gets approval

Stephanie Unwin is Chief Executive of Horizon Power. She has held a range of senior positions in the energy and resources industries, including General Manager Commercial at Synergy and General Counsel at Verge Energy. She was also the Chief Executive Officer of Phylogica, an Australian biomedical company. She has been on the ARENA Board since 2018 and will serve another 12 months.

Dougal McOmish is Director, Eco Advisory, a corporate and strategic advisor focused on the food and agribusiness sectors. He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Sundrop Farms, an agriculture company pioneering sustainable production methods, including using desalinated sea water and concentrated solar thermal technology. Mr McOmish also has experience in the finance sector as an investment banker, predominantly with Macquarie Group in Australia and Asia. He has been on the ARENA Board since 2018 and will serve another 12 months.