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Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill 2016

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2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE

AMENDMENT BILL 2016

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

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

the Honourable Josh Frydenberg, MP
)



 

 

 

OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE

AMENDMENT BILL 2016

 

OUTLINE

 

The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill (2016) (the Bill) will amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) to validate past Joint Authority decisions to grant renewals or extensions of the term of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles.  Joint Authorities generally comprise the responsible State and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for energy and resources, with many decisions made by departmental officials under formal delegation arrangements. The consent of the Minister for the Environment pursuant to subsection 359(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was not sought as required for a number of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles due to an administrative oversight.

 

A petroleum title is a ‘prior usage right’ under the EPBC Act if the title was in force immediately before the proclamation of a Commonwealth reserve that overlaps the title area. Under subsection 359(1) of the EPBC Act, ‘prior usage right’ titles are exempt from compliance with provisions of the EPBC Act and regulations that relate to a Commonwealth reserve, or of a management plan for the reserve.

 

Under subsection 359(3) of the EPBC Act, a ‘prior usage right’ petroleum title can only be renewed, or have its term extended, with the consent of the Minister for the Environment. However, an administrative oversight has recently been discovered, whereby the consent of the Minister for the Environment was not sought as required for decisions to renew or extend the term of ‘prior usage rights’ titles under the OPGGS Act. Importantly, this is a technical issue that has not had an impact on the environmental requirements associated with the titles. All titles and subsequent activities have continued to be subject to Australia’s stringent environmental, safety and well integrity regime administered by the independent regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA).  Affected titleholders which have undertaken offshore petroleum activities have obtained approval from NOPSEMA in accordance with the requirements of the environmental, safety and well integrity regime.

 

The amendments to the OPGGS Act made by this Bill will validate past Joint Authority decisions to grant renewals or extensions of the term of ‘prior usage rights’ titles, where the consent of the Minister for the Environment was neither sought, nor given, under subsection 359(3) of the EPBC Act. Amendments to validate affected decisions are the only way to satisfactorily eliminate the risk affected decisions pose for titleholders.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill is expected to have nil financial impact.

 



 

 

 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill)

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) to validate past Joint Authority decisions to grant renewals, or extensions of the term, of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles, where the consent of the Minister for the Environment, pursuant to subsection 359(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), was not sought as required due to an administrative oversight.

 

Human rights implications

 

The amendments in this Bill are mechanical in nature and do not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.



 

OFFSHORE PETROLEUM AND GREENHOUSE GAS STORAGE AMENDMENT BILL 2016

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short title

 

This is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

 

The Act will commence on the day after the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

 

This clause gives effect to the provisions in the Schedule to this Act.

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006

 

Item 1: Section 7

 

This item inserts a definition of ‘Environment Minister’ for the purposes of the OPGGS Act.

 

Item 2: After 9.10B

 

This item inserts a new Part 9.10C into the OPGGS Act, which relates to the renewal or extension of the term of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles to which subsection 359(1) of the EPBC Act applies.

 

Division 1 of Part 9.10C provides a simplified outline which states that the Part is about the renewal or extension of the term of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles.

 

Section 780K of Division 2 of Part 9.10C provides for the validation of Joint Authority decisions made prior to 1 January 2016 to grant renewals or extensions of the term of ‘prior usage rights’ petroleum titles, where the consent of the Environment Minister pursuant to subsection 359(3) of the EPBC Act for the renewal or extension was not sought as required.

 

Division 2, at s780L, provides for the exemption regime set out in subsection 359(1) of the EPBC Act to apply to the renewed title or the period of the extension of the term of the title, as applicable.

 

These amendments only apply to decisions made prior to 1 January 2016. If a title is renewed by the Joint Authority in response to an application for renewal or the Joint Authority makes a decision to extend after 1 January 2016, subsection 359(1) of the EPBC Act will not apply to the renewed or extended title unless the Environment Minister has consented to the application of subsection 359(1) under the EPBC Act to the renewed or extended title.