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Thursday, 19 March 2015
Page: 1934


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (Victoria) (12:53): The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2015 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2015 are supported by Labor, as they make further amendments to the role of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, or NOPSEMA, and also respond to the boundary changes caused by Geoscience Australia's cadastral mapping program.

On 22 May last year, Geoscience Australia wrote to the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum advising of changes to the maritime boundaries around South Scott Reef and North Scott Reef, collectively known as Scott Reef, and Seringapatam Reef. These boundary changes came into effect on 20 May last year. South Scott and North Scott reefs—Scott Reef—and Seringapatam Reef lie approximately 450 kilometres north of Broome in an area of the Indian Ocean known as the Browse Basin. Located off the north-west coast of Western Australia, the highly prospective Browse Basin is home to a large number of gas and condensate discoveries, a number of which are being developed as liquid natural gas projects.

The Western Australian parliament passed the Petroleum Titles (Browse Basin) Bill 2014 last year to provide security of tenure by overcoming the risk of creating any vacant areas and thus uncertainty in the Scott Reef or Seringapatam Reef areas. These bills we are debating are in effect a mirroring of the Western Australian legislation.

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2015 will automatically extend the coverage of the titles under the act to ensure security of tenure over blocks moving from state or Northern Territory coastal waters into Commonwealth jurisdiction as a result of boundary changes. It will also provide arrangements for the granting of renewals of Commonwealth titles over blocks remaining in Commonwealth waters, where part of that title has moved into state or Territory waters as a result of boundary changes.

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment (Miscellaneous Matters) Bill 2015 provides the ability for the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator to collect an annual titles administration levy with respect to a boundary-change petroleum exploration permit.

Labor supports these amendments and recognises the importance of providing certainty over tenure. We also recognise the important role of NOPSEMA in reducing the regulatory burden on industry and the potential to deliver improved regulatory outcomes.