2022-23 Annual Report
Chair's Foreword

At IPART a lot of our work is regulating services that people can’t do without, so consumers receive safe, reliable, quality services at a fair price. Over 2022-23, the Tribunal carefully considered the cost of living challenges for households and the need for regulated businesses to have enough funds to deliver, efficiently, the services people depend on and the quality consumers expect.

During last year, we were very mindful that just as our community adjusted to the COVID pandemic, rapid increases in inflation, rising interest rates, labour shortages. disrupted supply chains and energy price increases were adding to cost of living pressures. 

For example, the Tribunal closely examined cost of living impacts and protecting affordability as much as possible as we considered council rate peg settings, water prices and progressed the Early Childhood Education and Care sector review.

IPART is committed to helping NSW tackle climate change and our regulatory approach considers the short, medium and long-term impacts on customers and communities. This includes the need for essential services to invest in reducing emissions, transitioning to renewable energy, adapting to climate change and enabling community resilience to manage through more frequent and intense natural disasters. 

Throughout 2022-23 we continued to build IPART's climate change knowledge and capability and we are actively adapting our regulatory approach to ensure regulated sectors are taking appropriate steps to build resilience, sustainability, and consumer protection. 

IPART helps NSW address climate change through the ongoing delivery of the Energy Security Schemes. In 2022-23 these schemes delivered tangible improvements to energy sustainability and network reliability through energy efficient upgrades and incentives. 

This includes the Energy Savings Scheme with implementations to date expected to achieve around 19,000 MWh savings of electricity over the next 10 years. The Peak Demand Reduction Scheme also commenced operation in November 2022. This scheme has already successfully reduced demand for energy during peak periods and we expect this to expand over time. We are now working towards the rollout of a third scheme, the Renewable Fuel Scheme.

I am incredibly proud of the work IPART has done this year and am grateful for the people who make it possible. Thank you to my fellow Tribunal members Deborah Cope and Sandra Gamble and deputy Tribunal member Mike Smart. Thank you also to the expert and diligent team in the IPART Secretariat. They all demonstrate an overwhelming commitment to the public interest, with a focus on improving outcomes for the people of NSW. 

I would like to acknowledge and thank Liz Livingstone who ably led the IPART Secretariat in the role of Chief Executive Officer from July 2019 to November 2022 before moving to NSW Treasury and Ben Strate and Michelle Coco who each acted as CEO pending the appointment of IPART’s new CEO. I also thank Andrew Nicholls PSM, our current IPART CEO for his leadership of the Secretariat since commencing in January. 

Carmel Donnelly


Chief Executive Officer's Report

I was delighted to join the IPART team as Chief Executive Officer in January 2023. I would particularly like to acknowledge my predecessor, Liz Livingstone, for the tremendous legacy she has left the organisation. It is a privilege to work with so many intelligent and dedicated people as we support the work of the Tribunal and, in turn, help make NSW a better place to live and work. 

We continue to make great progress against the IPART 2023 Strategic Plan, including:

  • Increasing leadership capability to inspire and empower staff, supported by the implementation of pulse surveys to monitor staff wellbeing, identify, and address issues early.
  • Implementing the Communications and Engagement Strategy, including trialling new approaches to engage with a broader range of stakeholders.
  • Enhancing our climate change credentials through ongoing development of our climate change impacts framework, as well as supporting staff to obtain climate change qualifications.
  • Developing and implementing new regulation technology such as the implementation of TESSA (The Energy Security Safeguard Application). This has streamlined scheme interaction processes and improved visibility of outcomes for all parties of the schemes.
  • Continued to incorporate requirements and incentives for regulated entities to innovate and respond to their customers’ needs and preferences.
  • Transition to a new outsourced IT provider.

A key challenge for us this year has been managing an increase in IPART’s functions alongside ongoing, high workloads. While it is great that IPART continues to be recognised as a highly capable expert in our field, it also puts a greater onus on the leadership of the organisation to find ways to support staff and prioritise workloads. This will be an ongoing focus in the forthcoming year. 

For much of the reporting year, IPART formed part of the Customer Service portfolio, but, in May, following the State election in March 2023, IPART was allocated to the Premier’s portfolio. While IPART is an independent agency, nonetheless, ensuring a smooth transition between Governments and portfolios was a major focus during the second half of the year.

As we enter a new reporting year, a major focus will be on a new Strategic Plan which will set IPART up for continuing success in the years ahead, as we seek to serve the people of NSW through effective regulation, advice and oversight. 

Andrew Nicholls

Chief Executive Officer