The Department of Climate Change was originally established on 3 December 2007 within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. On 8 March 2010 a machinery of government change transferred programs from the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts making the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency a separate portfolio agency.
On 25 March 2013 the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency was abolished. Climate Change functions were transferred to create the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education. Energy Efficiency functions were transferred to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.