About our Board
The ARENA board sets the investment strategies and priorities, oversees the running of our agency, and approves funding for projects up to $50 million.
Appointed members have experience and knowledge in either renewable energy, technology, commercialisation, business investment or corporate governance. This ensures expert administration of funds available.
- The Risk and Audit Committee: Download the Charter (PDF 2.7MB)
- The People and Culture Committee.
Justin Punch, Chair / Non-executive member
Justin Punch is an experienced environmental investor focused on decarbonisation and conservation, with a 30-year career in private equity, line management and management consulting. He is a co-founder of Assembly Climate Capital and a Director of Tasman Environmental Markets. He was previously a Partner at Archer Capital, where he led investments across a diverse range of sectors, and has extensive experience in the management of operating businesses as well as consulting experience with the Boston Consulting Group.
Justin serves as the Co-Chair of the Karrkad Kanjdji Trust. The Trust supports the work of Indigenous ranger groups in Arnhem Land on projects including assisting with landscape-scale carbon abatement programs, conserving endangered landscapes and species, conserving Indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage, and improving education outcomes.
Justin holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of NSW and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
John Hirjee is an experienced company research analyst, banker and senior adviser, specialising in Australasian energy and utility industries and companies. He is currently Head of Research & Analysis, Resources, Energy & Infrastructure, Australia at ANZ Banking Group.
John has a significant track record with high-level achievements in equity research, analysing the development of company strategies and financial metrics. John’s career has included working with key stakeholders across private and public institutions, and the fostering of strong links with senior executives, professionals and government officials.
John has a Bachelor of Engineering specialising in Chemical Engineering from Monash University.
Anna was previously an executive at Rio Tinto and TransGrid, has worked in various consulting firms and government agencies including the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Productivity Commission, and has been a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Anna holds a Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania.
Elizabeth O’Leary is a Senior Managing Director in Macquarie Asset Management (MAM) Real Assets. Elizabeth leads MAM’s Agriculture & Natural Asset’s platform encompassing large-scale specialised funds and related investment vehicles.
Elizabeth is committed to developing the natural assets sector into a mature and attractive asset class with growing institutional investment. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, MAM Agriculture & Natural Assets has taken a leadership position in the development of methods of measuring, reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions across its farming operations.
Elizabeth is a keen participant in the natural assets sector as a member of various boards. Elizabeth is a regular speaker and an industry contributor including as a current Member of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).
Marianna is a board director with roles across the public and non-profit sector including on the board of Stanwell Corporation and the McKell Institute Queensland. She brings to the ARENA board expertise in sustainable investment, energy generation, clean tech innovation, and public policy. Her career has included work at the World Bank; in the Australian Government focusing on national climate change and energy policy and on governmental and international climate change negotiations; the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and in public policy think tanks. Marianna is a mentor at EnergyLab and is a recipient of the Chief Executive Women Sustainability Scholarship and the Ross Garnaut Prize. Marianna holds a Masters of Climate Change from Australian National University; a Bachelor of Laws from University of Queensland; is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees. She is admitted as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Stephen McIntosh has more than 36 years of global experience in the resources sector. He spent 33 years with the Rio Tinto Group culminating in the role as Group Executive Growth & Innovation. In that role he had accountability for most of Rio Tinto’s global technical functions including exploration, studies, construction, technical services, information technology, data science, robotics and automation, R&D, asset closure and for the last year he also led the global Health, Safety, Environment, and Security function. This accountability also included areas such as mineral processing, energy projects and latterly climate change.
Stephen holds a Master in Science from the University of Auckland, and is a geophysicist by training. He is a non-executive director of Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE), a non-executive director of Chalice Mining, and a director and chairperson of Datarock Holdings. He is also an advisor to the Monash University led Critical Minerals Consortium.
Jo Evans, Ex-officio member
Jo Evans is a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, and the nominee for the Secretary on the ARENA Board.
Jo has worked in a number of portfolios including the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of the Environment and Energy. Prior to joining the Australian Public Service in 2000, Jo worked for management consultants McKinsey & Company.
Jo has a Masters of Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University; a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Melbourne; and a combined bachelor degree in Asian Studies and Economics (Honours) from the Australian National University.
“We’ve got to unlock our renewable energy force. It’s a beast we can awaken.”
ARENA met with Anna Freeman, Director of Decarbonisation Policy for the Clean Energy Council (CEC) at the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, the biggest solar farm in the world, to discuss her agenda after COP28, the key role electrification plays in Australia’s renewables story and gender equality.