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Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Datum) Bill 2008

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2008

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AMENDMENT (DATUM) BILL 2008

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Resources and Energy,

the Honourable Martin Ferguson AM, MP)



OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AMENDMENT (DATUM) BILL 2008

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

 

Th e purpose of this Bill is to make a minor technical amendment to the datum provisions included in the Offshore Petroleum Act 2006 (OPA) . There is no policy change.

 

This Bill will correct an error resulting from a technical oversight in the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 which inadvertently replaced all references to the Australian Geodetic Datum (AGD66) with the Geocentric Datum of Australia (GDA94).  The amendments in the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 commenced on 1 July 2008.

 

Although the advent of global positioning systems justifies the adoption of an international ‘geocentric’ (earth centred) datum, the OPA still needs to refer to the AGD66 for the purposes of determining the position of graticular sections or blocks and refer to GDA94 for certain other purposes including describing coordinates of a point in a title.  If graticular sections or blocks are determined by reference to GDA94 (as the amended OPA currently states), the grid used to determine the position of the titles will move approximately 200 metres in a north-easterly direction from a grid that refers to AGD66.  This is not the policy intention and would cause concern and uncertainty for industry if not corrected.

 

It is proposed that the amendments in Schedule 1 of this Bill have retrospective effect from 1 July 2008 to provide the following benefits to industry: remove uncertainty about title boundaries for petroleum titles, ensure alignment between existing and future titles, and facilitate the award of new exploration permits and the release of new exploration acreage.  There are no adverse effects on industry due to retrospectivity.   

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill will not have any financial impact on the Australian Government Budget as these are purely technical amendments.

 

REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT

 

This Bill does not impose any new regulatory burden on the petroleum industry.



NOTES ON INDIVIDUAL CLAUSES

 

Clause 1, Short title

 

Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

 

Clause 2, Commencement

 

Sections 1 to 3 in the Bill will commence from the day the Act receives Royal Assent.

 

Schedule 1 will commence immediately after the commencement of Item 24 of Schedule 1 to the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 which commenced on 1 July 2008 . That is, the amendments in Schedule 1 will have retrospective effect from 1 July 2008 to provide industry with the following benefits: remove uncertainty about title boundaries for petroleum titles, ensure alignment between existing and future titles, and facilitate the award of new exploration permits and the release of new exploration acreage.  There are no adverse effects on industry.  The amendments will give effect to the original policy intention of the Offshore Petroleum (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008.

 

The commencement sequencing is required to ensure that the amendments to the Datum Provisions of the Offshore Petroleum Act 2006 contained in the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 commence prior to the amendments to those provisions in this Bill. This ensures that the amendments made in this Bill commence in the correct sequence.

 

Schedule 1, items 1 to 5

 

These items set out provisions to correct an inadvertent technical error introduced by the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 .  As amended by that Act, section 22 of the OPA provides that the position on the surface of the Earth of a graticular section or block is to be determined by reference to GDA94.

 

If graticular sections or blocks are determined by reference to GDA94, the grid used to determine the position of title boundaries will move approximately 200 metres in a north-easterly direction from a grid that refers to AGD66.  This is not the policy intention and would cause concern and uncertainty for industry if not corrected.

 

Items 1 to 5 of Schedule 1 will reinstate AGD66 as the datum by reference to which the position on the surface of the Earth of a graticular section or block is determined for the purposes of the OPA.  The substantive provision that does this will be new subsection 21A(1).

 

This amendment will remove uncertainty about title boundaries for petroleum titles, ensure alignment between existing and future titles, and facilitate the award of new exploration permits and the release of new exploration acreage.

 

The amendments made by this Bill will not affect other changes with respect to datum that were made by the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2008 .  The other changes provided for the re-defining of the boundaries of the offshore areas of the States and Territories by reference to GDA94 coordinates and enabled the position of a point, line, block or other area to be described, in a title or other instrument, using GDA94 or another datum.

 

Schedule 1, item 6

 

Item 6 provides a transitional provision to ensure that any eligible instruments made, or acts or things done before the commencement of Schedule 1 remain valid and effective.