Professor Tim Flannery has been sacked as the head of the Climate Commission as the Abbott government delivers on its promise to dismantle the agency.
Source
SBS
19 Sep 2013 - 3:05 PM  UPDATED 19 Sep 2013 - 4:18 PM

Professor Tim Flannery has been sacked as the head of the Climate Commission as the Abbott government delivers on its promise to dismantle the agency.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt reportedly called Professor Flannery this morning to tell him a letter formally ending his employment was in the mail.

The news was delivered to Professor Flannery via a letter from Mr Hunt, News Corp Australia reports.

The letter is reported to have read: "The Climate Commission does not have an ongoing role, and consequently I am writing to advise you that the Climate Commission has been dissolved, with effect from the date of this letter.

He thanked him for his personal contribution and then said "The Department of the Environment will soon write to you concerning administrative arrangements for finalising your engagement as Chief Climate Commissioner."

All other climate commissioners will also be sacked.

The commission's work will be taken over by the environment department, to save the budget $580,000 in this financial year and $1.6 million a year in running costs.

Mr Hunt has already moved to immediately close the Climate Commission, even though the decision will require consultation with the authority and legislation to be passed by the parliament, which is due to return in late October or early November.

A spokeswoman for the Climate Commission said the authority understood it was the government's position to abolish it through repeal legislation.

"At this time the authority has received no further information from the government," the spokeswoman told AAP.

Professor Flannery said there was a strong need for accurate information on climate change as "propaganda" aimed at misinforming the public increases.

"I believe Australians have a right to know, a right to authoritative, independent and accurate information on climate change," he told reporters in Melbourne.

He said Australia had endured the hottest 12 months on record, with last summer breaking more than 120 heat records across the country.

The commission was established in February 2011 to provide authoritative, apolitical information to the Australian public on all aspects of Climate Change at a cost of $5 million over four years.

Professor Flannery said all commissioners would continue their work in one way or another, informing the Australian public that climate change is happening.

"It's a grave threat, but a threat that can be overcome," he said.

He said a well-informed public was key to action on climate change.

"We desperately need a well-informed public, especially in areas of complex policy," Professor Flannery said.

"Without an informed public, we will go astray."

Professor Flannery did not want to comment on political matters, or whether the current government believed in climate change.

He said about six to eight per cent of the Australian population were "rusted on" climate sceptics.

Staff at the commission would be re-assigned, he said.

Labor leadership contender Anthony Albanese said the government's priorities were wrong.

"They only got sworn in yesterday but they have already begun ... rolling AusAID into DFAT, sacking senior public servants and just today the shameful act of shutting down the Climate Change Authority," he told a forum in Melbourne.

He said it was a "step back in time".

The move comes as the Coalition says it is taking steps to deliver on its promise to cut down on government waste.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Abbott announced AusAID would be absorbed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He also sacked three high profile public service department heads.