- Parliamentary Business
- Senators & Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Table Of ContentsDownload Current Hansard View/Save XML
Previous Fragment Next Fragment
- Start of Business
- NATIONAL HEALTH AND HOSPITALS NETWORK BILL 2010
- AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL PREVENTIVE HEALTH AGENCY BILL 2010
- NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (PHARMACEUTICAL BENEFITS SCHEME) BILL 2010
- TERRITORIES LAW REFORM BILL 2010
- DEFENCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (SECURITY OF DEFENCE PREMISES) BILL 2010
- OZONE PROTECTION AND SYNTHETIC GREENHOUSE GAS MANAGEMENT AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- TRADEX SCHEME AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- HIGHER EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (STUDENT SERVICES AND AMENITIES) BILL 2010
- OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MISCELLANEOUS MEASURES) BILL 2010
- OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE (SAFETY LEVIES) AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- FAMILY ASSISTANCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (CHILD CARE BUDGET MEASURES) BILL 2010
- SUPERANNUATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- INTERNATIONAL TAX AGREEMENTS AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2010
- TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (CONFIDENTIALITY OF TAXPAYER INFORMATION) BILL 2010
- TAX LAWS AMENDMENT (2010 MEASURES NO. 4) BILL 2010
- FISHERIES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2010
- PRIMARY INDUSTRIES (EXCISE) LEVIES AMENDMENT BILL 2010
- CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (SONS OF GWALIA) BILL 2010
- CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (NO. 1) BILL 2010
- CARER RECOGNITION BILL 2010
- STANDING ORDERS
- STANDING AND SESSIONAL ORDERS
- GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO COMMITTEE REPORTS
- Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity Committee
- Australian Crime Commission Committee
- Corporations and Financial Services Committee
- Cyber Safety Committee
- Electoral Matters Committee
- Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
- Gambling Reform Committee
- Migration Committee
- National Capital and External Territories Committee
- Parliamentary Library Committee
- Treaties Committee
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
- STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Delhi Commonwealth Games
(Owens, Julie, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
Emissions Trading Scheme
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Thomson, Craig, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Abbott, Tony, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Entsch, Warren, MP)
(Zappia, Tony, MP, Combet, Greg, MP)
Local Hospital Networks
(Oakeshott, Rob, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Neumann, Shayne, MP, Smith, Stephen, MP)
(Haase, Barry, MP, Bowen, Chris, MP)
(Parke, Melissa, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Bishop, Julie, MP, Rudd, Kevin, MP)
(Livermore, Kirsten, MP, Crean, Simon, MP)
(Ciobo, Steven, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Champion, Nick, MP, Macklin, Jenny, MP)
Building the Education Revolution Program
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Garrett, Peter, MP)
Australian Federal Police
(Hayes, Chris, MP, O’Connor, Brendan, MP)
Home Insulation Program
(Truss, Warren, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Ripoll, Bernie, MP, McClelland, Robert, MP)
- Climate Change
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
- PRIME MINISTER
- AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism) (10:30 AM) —I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill amends the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the act). This is a relatively small bill making a number of minor policy and technical amendments.
It is nevertheless an important bill as it will augment the existing functions of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) to include non-occupational health and safety (non-OHS) aspects of structural integrity for facilities, wells and well-related equipment in Commonwealth waters.
Since its establishment on 1 January 2005, NOPSA has had structural integrity functions relevant to occupational health and safety for petroleum facilities, including for pipelines, and associated wells.
The amendments introduced in this bill clarify NOPSA’s role and strengthen their ability to fully carry out their functions in relation to all facilities, wells and well-related equipment—including during the drilling and construction of wells and whether or not wells are associated with a facility.
The augmentation of NOPSA’s functions to include non-OHS aspects of structural integrity is not to extend NOPSA’s responsibilities into environmental management or resource management regulation but to allow NOPSA to more effectively carry out its responsibilities as an occupational health and safety regulator.
This is particularly the case where a structure used in petroleum operations such as a well or a pipeline is on the sea floor and contact between people and the structure is only occasional.
To a large extent, the structural integrity of a pipeline or a well is an OHS matter, as it is central to the safety of operational or maintenance crews whenever they are required to do work on the structure. There will always be some aspects of structural integrity that fall outside this category, however, and it is these that the present amendments seek to address. The amendments will enable NOPSA to take a comprehensive and integrated approach to the integrity of structures, without any question as to the scope of their functional responsibilities.
The government will work with industry and other stakeholders to determine in regulations which matters relating to the structural integrity of pipelines and wells are also resource security or resource management matters. These will continue to be the responsibility of the designated authorities under proposed regulations relating to resource management. There will therefore be an element of overlap between the responsibilities of NOPSA and those of the designated authorities, although they will be performing different functions.
The government is committed to augmenting NOPSA’s powers to ensure that it has sufficient capability to effectively regulate all aspects of occupational health and safety for the offshore petroleum industry and that its role is not limited in the event of any future failure of a well or pipeline.
The current amendments also go some way to addressing issues arising from the Montara incident in August 2009. However, I also remain committed to the establishment of a single national regulator for the offshore petroleum industry.
This initiative will be a key development in the ongoing improvement and streamlining of the national regime for the regulation of petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Commonwealth waters and will help avoid regulatory duplication that may compromise the effectiveness of the safety regime.
Other minor policy amendments proposed in this bill seek to:
- provide a streamlined process for the submission of applications, nominations, requests or notices in relation to a title when that title is jointly owned by two or more titleholders (known as multiple titleholders);
- make clear that when the act imposes obligations on a titleholder and where a title is owned by multiple holders, while the obligation is imposed on each and every titleholder the obligation may be discharged by any one of the titleholders; and
- correct a technical problem with the authority of responsible state and Northern Territory ministers to participate in the performance of joint authority functions, and to perform designated authority functions, under the Commonwealth regulations.
On this last matter, existing state and Northern Territory legislation, which corresponds to the act, provides the designated authority (the relevant state or Northern Territory minister) with authority to perform functions and powers under the act, but this does not include the regulations in force under the act. This amendment therefore closes the gap, as many important functions and powers of designated authorities are conferred by the regulations. For consistency, corresponding amendments have also been made to joint authority provisions.
A further small but important amendment clarifies the duties of titleholders under the occupational health and safety provisions of this act. This amendment narrows the titleholder’s duties in the current clause 13A of schedule 3 of the act from facilities generally to wells and well-related equipment, specifically in new clauses 13A and 13B.
As it stands the clause can be read as imposing a duty of care on a titleholder in relation to the design of facilities, such as drilling rigs, which the titleholder could not reasonably be expected to have any control over.
Therefore this duty of care has been recast so that it applies to all aspects of wells from design through to operation and closing off. Consequential amendments have been made to allow OHS inspectors to monitor compliance and investigate possible contraventions.
Technical amendments in this bill include changes to offence provisions that relate to titleholders, where the offence consists only of a physical element. These amendments provide that offences under these provisions are made provisions of strict liability, which removes the need to prove intent.
Given the geographically remote nature of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas activities it is not possible for regulatory staff to be constantly monitoring titleholder activities, so they are reliant on accurate reporting by titleholders to inform them that directions and requirements in the act have been complied with.
Where the offences relate to doing or not doing an act, proving the intent of a titleholder is very difficult. In these circumstances making the offences ones of strict liability is justified.
This application of strict liability is consistent with government policy on the application of strict liability and is to provide a regulatory regime that is effective and enforceable. This amendment does not increase any penalties on titleholders; in fact in some instances it removes imprisonment as a penalty and instead replaces it with penalty units.
Further technical amendments in the bill correct a referencing error and update the listed OHS laws set out in the act to take into account recent changes to safety regulations.
In summary, through a range of measures, including:
- strengthening the functions of NOPSA;
- increasing the effectiveness of compliance through the application of strict liability to appropriate offences;
- clarifying the application of titleholder provisions in the act in relation to multiple titleholders; and
- setting out that a titleholder’s duty of care under OHS provisions of the act relates specifically to wells;
this bill underscores the government’s commitment to the maintenance and continuing improvement of a strong, effective framework for the regulation of offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage activities. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Ms Gambaro) adjourned.