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Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Legislation Amendment Bill 2001

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(NO. 3) 2000








Amendment and new clause to be moved on behalf of the Government





















(Circulated by the authority of

the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources,

Senator the Hon Nick Minchin)





Items 26 to 28 of Schedule 1 to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2000 seek to correct certain editorial errors in amendments made in 2000 to section 107 of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 . Section 107 gives the Designated Authority (usually the State or Northern Territory Minister responsible for petroleum resources) power to direct a past or current petroleum title-holder to remove property from a relinquished or current title area and do other things to restore the area to a satisfactory state.


As set out in clause 2(3) of the Bill, the correcting amendments have been drafted to have effect from 7 March 2000, the date on which the amendments with errors came into effect. This has been done so that any direction under section 107 that may have been issued between 7 March 2000 and the date of effect of the correcting amendments is validated.


However, there is an offence provision in section 107, specifically a penalty of 100 penalty points for failure to comply with a direction given under the section. As set out in sections 108 and 113, certain civil liabilities can also follow from such a failure. The retrospective application of an offence provision or civil liability is contrary to Commonwealth legal policy.


Consequently, the amendment inserts a new transitional item 28A in the Bill which makes it clear that no criminal or civil liability will retrospectively fall on any person as a result of the amendment being backdated to 7 March 2000.




There is no financial impact.



Parliamentary Amendment (1)


This amendment adds, after item 28 of the Bill, the new item 28A composed of four sub-items.


Sub-item (1) defines “the transitional period”, noting that it began at the beginning of the item, which, according to subclause 2(3), occurred on 7 March 2000. The period is to end the day before Royal Assent to this Bill.


Sub-item (2) refers to the amendments in Schedule 1, Part 3 of the Bill, which contains only the amendments being made to section 107. The act or omission would be failure by a person to comply with a direction given by the Designated Authority to remove property from a past or current offshore petroleum exploration or production area or do certain other things to restore the area to a satisfactory state. If both the date of giving the direction and the deadline date for compliance with it fell during the transitional period, then the person receiving the direction and not complying with it would not be liable to prosecution on account of that specific direction.


Sub-item (3) refers to what can normally occur if a title-holder (past or present) has not complied with a direction given under section 107. Section 108 provides that the Designated Authority may do the things directed and, if there is a question of removal of property, the Designated Authority may direct the owner of the property, rather than the title-holder, to remove the property. This sub-item provides that, if a section 107 direction has not been complied with during the transitional period as envisaged in sub-item (2), then the owner of the property cannot be directed to remove it as a consequence of that non-compliance.


Sub-item (4) refers to the powers normally given under section 113 to the Designated Authority to deal with a situation where neither the title-holder nor the owner removes property after a direction under section 107 or 108. The Designated Authority may then remove and sell the property and deduct costs and expenses or recover them through a court of competent jurisdiction. This sub-item provides that, if a section 107 direction has not been complied with during the transitional period as envisaged in sub-item (2), then cost recovery, whether by deduction from the proceeds of sale or court action, shall not apply.