Environment Minister Greg Hunt telephoned Professor Flannery yesterday to deliver the news in what was described as a civil discussion delivering expected news.
The Coalition is delivering on an election promise to dispense with the commission, saving taxpayers $580,000 this financial year and $1.6 million in following years.
Mr Hunt said he had also written to Professor Flannery and the other five commissioners, thanking them for their efforts and formally advising them of the decision, effective immediately.
“The Coalition believes it is the role of the Department of Environment to provide independent advice and analysis on climate change,” said Mr Hunt, “and that the role of the Climate Commission was duplicating the work of the department.”
The Climate Commission has been a controversial body. Established by the Gillard government in 2011, it was charged with providing Australians with “an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change, the international action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the economics of a carbon price”.
However it delivered reports with titles including the “angry summer” and “critical decade” which said climate change is already having a deleterious impact in Australia.
The reports were widely publicised and the commission was accused of running an agenda.
Macquarie University academics Ryan Crompton and John McAneney, for instance, responded to the “angry summer” report with a paper which said, in part; “any claim of a climate change influence on increasing disaster loss totals to date is simply unfounded and in contradiction to the international scientific evidence”.
(Timbo is looking very worried in that photo. How will we cope without the Climate Commission?)
Professor Flannery’s part-time role as chief commissioner attracted an annual salary of $180,000.