Professional independence of BREE
A central objective for the operation of the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) is the concept of 'professional independence'.
BREE is administratively a division within the Department of Industry but professionally independent in its public positioning—it will aim to maintain a public presence and reputation for analysis based solely on economic and statistical research rather than one influenced by the political positions or policy of the government of the day.
This independence will enable BREE to critically examine government policy and to analyse a range of alternative policy options, including some which may not currently be supported by the government at a point in time. It will also enable BREE to produce commodity forecasts and other analysis based on a weighing of the empirical and theoretical evidence available, without undue influence by any particular stakeholder.
BREE's professional independence is reflected in the way it operates and adherence to a number of principles:
BREE recruits staff with professional expertise in economics, statistics or related technical and scientific areas to provide a strong analytical base for its research. In recognition of the specialised expertise required by BREE, the Department of Industry may need to recruit BREE graduates separately from the wider Department of Industry graduate process.
BREE's research and analysis is underpinned by a rigorous research process that provides a sound basis to outputs.
BREE maintains a rigorous clearance process for all outputs which helps ensure the integrity and quality of the research as well as developing the 'BREE view' on specific issues. The clearance process includes several layers of professional checking—including formal clearance by the BREE Chief Economist and consultations with the Deputy Secretary and/or Secretary of the Department of Industry.
BREE publishes research under its own brand. This enables the government to both benefit from the evidence, data and analysis provided by BREE outputs, but also to stand arms-length from it in a way that would be more difficult to achieve from a departmental-branded publication.
BREE does not clear its publications with the Minister’s office. Advice on release of publications is provided in advance of release to enable the Minister to respond publicly if necessary, but this is provided on a 'for information' basis.
BREE has a wide presence in the media and does not seek approval from the Minister's office, or elsewhere in the Department of Industry, to talk about its research and analysis in public. The public-benefit from BREE's research and analysis is maximised by providing clear, regular and effective communication activities using a range of media types—including holding and presenting at national and regional conferences, use of the electronic and print media, free-availability of its publications (on the internet) and use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Approved by the BREE Advisory Board