“Climate change is a structural feature which is going to be here for a long time – market conditions wax and wane, whereas the climate transition is a structural force which is going to be with us for a number of years to come,” he said.
“Most renewable projects, at least the ones I’ve seen at Fortescue, are on long-term horizons [as] investments and that matches the outlook of super funds … and they require large players, large pools of capital.
“… ART is and will be one of the largest players in the Australian financial landscape so that is a very attractive proposition [and] a consequential one.”
Catching up to do
But he said these investments were driven by returns, rather than the “nation-building” motivations put forward by Treasurer Jim Chalmers as part of his push to use superannuation savings to fund areas of public concern such as affordable housing and the energy transition.
“If you look at Australia over the next decade, we’ve got to catch up on decade-plus in under-investment in renewable assets … there’s a huge opportunity from an investment point of view,” Dr Debelle said.
ART chairman Andrew Fraser said the appointments came at a point of growth for the fund, which celebrated its first birthday on Tuesday after its creation through the merger of Sunsuper and QSuper last year.
The fund has since absorbed the Australia Post Super Scheme and Commonwealth Bank Group Super, and this month announced it was undergoing due diligence on a merger with AvSuper.
Mr Fraser welcomed the Albanese government’s proposed definition for the purpose of the super system, saying it was “about providing a point on how the system should develop in future”.
Mr Burgess, a former managing director of the Future Fund and HESTA director and investment committee chairman, will take up his directorship mid-year. He will also join ART’s investment committee.
Ms Apelt, who was previously a director of QSuper and agent-general for Queensland to the UK, and Dr Debelle have already started their roles.