Ferguson appoints economist for new energy, commodity research unit

1st July 2011 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) − Federal Resource Minister Martin Ferguson on Friday announced the appointment of Professor Quentin Grafton as the inaugural chief economist for the newly established Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE), which would officially start operations on Friday.

Ferguson announced the establishment of BREE earlier this year to provide evidence-based data, analysis and research into the rapidly growing energy and resources sector.

BREE will sit as a professionally independent agency within the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and would initially be comprised largely of staff transferred from the resources and energy branch of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture & Resource Economics and Sciences (Abares).

BREE would be responsible for continuing all Abares’ current resources- and energy-related publications and analysis.

Welcoming the appointment, Ferguson emphasised the importance of high-quality research in the energy and resources sector. “With the pressures of rapid growth in mining and the transition to a clean energy economy, we need a deep pool of reliable and insightful analysis,” the Minister said.

BREE would build on the work of Abares, including the commodity forecasts that drive decisions across industry and the market.

He noted that beyond that, BREE would also work to fill large gaps in Australia’s knowledge and give the federal government a more detailed understanding of how Australians use energy in industry and at home, both on-grid and off-grid.

“As a leading economic thinker with extensive experience in influencing and developing policy, I am confident Professor Grafton will ensure the Bureau’s success.”

Grafton will take up the position in August and is currently based at the Australian National University as the director of the Centre for Water Economics, Environment and Policy and professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Economics and Government.

An advisory board of leading energy and resource sector economists has also been appointed to support the creation of BREE, including Professor Paul Simshauser, Vivek Tulpulé, Justin Smirk, and Dr Lynne Chester. They will be joined by a state representative, Anne Nolan, as well David Gruen and Abares’ executive director Phillip Glyde.