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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee—Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 and Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 [Provisions]—Report, dated October 2021


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The Senate

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 [Provisions] and Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 [Provisions]

October 2021

© Commonwealth of Australia 2021

ISBN 978-1-76093-296-1 (Printed Version)

ISBN 978-1-76093-296-1 (HTML Version)

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.

The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

iii

Members

Chair Senator Andrew Bragg LP, NSW

Deputy Chair Senator Sarah Hanson-Young AG, SA

Members Senator Catryna Bilyk ALP, TAS

Senator Nita Green ALP, QLD

Senator Sam McMahon CLP, NT

Senator David Van LP, VIC

Substitute Members Senator Anne Urquhart ALP, TAS

(for Senator Bilyk on 1 and 13 October 2021)

Secretariat Stephen Palethorpe, Committee Secretary Nicholas Craft, Principal Research Officer Monika Sheppard, Senior Research Officer James Dawson, Research Officer David Pappas, Administrative Officer Stephanie Oberman, Administrative Officer Morgan Jacobs, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Phone: 02 6277 3526

Parliament House Fax: 02 6277 5818

Canberra, ACT 2600 Email: ec.sen@aph.gov.au

Website: www.aph.gov.au/senate_ec

v

Contents

Members ............................................................................................................................................. iii

Chapter 1—Introduction .................................................................................................................... 1

Conduct of the inquiry ........................................................................................................................ 1

Scope of the report ............................................................................................................................... 2

Background and context to the bills .................................................................................................. 2

Structure and key proposals of the bills ........................................................................................... 7

Reports of other parliamentary committees ..................................................................................... 8

Chapter 2—Contextual information ................................................................................................ 9

Broad support for the Bill ................................................................................................................... 9

Proposed offshore electricity infrastructure projects .................................................................... 11

The broader perspective .................................................................................................................... 17

Chapter 3—Key issues...................................................................................................................... 19

Process for declaring areas for offshore renewable energy infrastructure ................................ 19

Licensing scheme ............................................................................................................................... 22

Managing and protecting infrastructure ........................................................................................ 31

Application of work health and safety laws .................................................................................. 37

Future legislative and policy work ................................................................................................. 40

Committee view ................................................................................................................................. 41

Labor Senators' Additional Comments ......................................................................................... 43

Australian Greens' Additional Comments ................................................................................... 45

Appendix 1—Submissions and Additional Documents ........................................................... 47

Appendix 2— Public Hearings ....................................................................................................... 49

1

Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 On 2 September 2021, the Senate referred the provisions of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill) and the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 (the Levies Bill) (collectively, the bills) to the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (the committee) for inquiry and report by 14 October 2021.1

1.2 According to the Explanatory Memoranda (EMs), the bills would:

 establish a regulatory framework to enable the construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of offshore electricity infrastructure (collectively, offshore infrastructure activities) in the 'Commonwealth offshore area';2 and

 allow levies to be imposed on regulated entities to recover the costs associated with regulating their offshore electricity activities.3

Conduct of the inquiry 1.3 In accordance with its usual practice, the committee advertised the inquiry on its website and wrote to relevant organisations inviting submissions by 15 September 2021. The committee continued to accept submissions received

after this date.

1.4 The committee received 37 submissions, which are listed at Appendix 1, and the public submissions are available on the committee's website at www.aph.gov.au/senate_ec. The committee also received 100 form letters organised by Friends of the Earth. An example is published on the committee's website.

1.5 The committee held a public hearing on 1 October 2021 by videoconference hosted from Canberra. A list of witnesses who gave evidence at the hearing is at Appendix 2.

Acknowledgement 1.6 The committee thanks all of the individuals and organisations who contributed to the inquiry, particularly given the short timeframe.

1 Journals of the Senate, No. 121, 2 September 2021, pp. 4086-4088.

2 Explanatory Memorandum (EM), Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill), p. 1.

'Commonwealth offshore area' is defined as the territorial sea and exclusive economic zone, not including coastal waters.

3 EM, Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 (the Levies Bill), p. 2.

2

Scope of the report 1.7 This report comprises three chapters:

 Chapter 1 provides background and contextual information relating to the bills, outlines the Bill's structure and some key provisions, and notes consideration of the bills undertaken by other parliamentary committees;

 Chapter 2 sets out some contextual information in relation to the offshore wind industry in Australia; and  Chapter 3 examines several key issues raised by stakeholders in submissions and in evidence, and sets out the committee's findings and

recommendation.

Note on references 1.8 In this report, references to the Committee Hansard are to the proof (that is, uncorrected) transcript. Page numbers may vary between the proof and the official transcript.

Background and context to the bills 1.9 In recent years there has been growing global momentum toward the establishment of the offshore wind industry, as key bodies—such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy

Agency (IRENA)—have endorsed the role of offshore wind in future energy systems.4

1.10 In September 2021 the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), an international trade association for the wind power industry, reported that global offshore wind capacity has reached 35.3 GW (Figure 1.1). Three countries dominate over 75 per cent of current capacity: the UK, China and Germany.

4 See, for example: International Energy Agency, 'Offshore Wind Outlook 2019, World Energy

Outlook special report', November 2019, p. 3, www.iea.org/reports/offshore-wind-outlook-2019 (accessed 6 September 2021); International Renewable Energy Agency, Future of Wind, Deployment, investment, technology, grid integration and socio-economic aspects, October 2019, p. 44, www.irena.org/publications/2019/Oct/Future-of-wind (accessed 7 September 2021).

3

Figure 1.1 Total offshore wind installations by country, 2020

Source: GWEC, Global Offshore Wind Report 2020, 9 September 2021, p. 20.

1.11 However, GWEC noted that the IEA's roadmap requires offshore wind annual installations to grow 13-fold, from the 6.1 GW installed in 2020 to 80 GW by 2030. Further, 'IRENA foresees more than 2000 GW of offshore wind installed capacity by 2050 in its 1.5°C scenario, nearly one quarter of total wind power capacity at that time'.5

1.12 GWEC pointed out however:

…the world has so far installed only 2 per cent of the offshore wind capacity that will be needed by the middle of this century to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.6

Australia's offshore wind industry 1.13 The Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (Blue Economy CRC), which supports industry-led collaborations with researchers and the community, explained that the potential for an offshore wind industry in Australia has long

been underestimated:

The conventional wisdom in Australia is that offshore wind energy would not have a role to play in our electricity system. Australia has more sites with good-quality on-shore wind and solar resources without the tighter land

5 Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Global Offshore Wind Report 2021, 9 September 2021, p. 11.

6 GWEC, 'World installs 6.1GW of Offshore Wind in 2020 led by China', 9 September 2021,

gwec.net/world-installs-6-1gw-of-offshore-wind-in-2020-led-by-china/ (accessed 13 September 2021).

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space constraints of some other nations. Across many parts of the coastline, the shelf falls away quickly meaning there are [fewer] locations in which fixed bottom offshore wind turbines are viable.7

1.14 Blue Economy CRC noted that in the Australian Energy Market Operator's 2020 Integrated System Plan:

…offshore wind was not included in the assessment of resources used to allocate Renewable Energy Zones, and was poorly represented in future scenarios for the development of the National Electricity Market.8

1.15 However, in July 2021 Blue Economy CRC published its evaluation of the potential for offshore wind energy in Australia. Its findings included:

 Australia has very high quality and abundant offshore wind resources in a range of locations, particularly in the southern latitudes where the resource is strongest.

 The capacity factors for offshore wind are usually higher than onshore wind.  Offshore wind can provide diversity of energy supply due to its availability at times when solar power and onshore wind are not available.  Under 'energy superpower' scenarios, including mass electrification and

hydrogen production, offshore wind could become a key strategic resource.  Offshore wind energy could play a significant role in a 'just transition' for oil, gas and coal workers.9

1.16 Blue Economy CRC highlighted suitable sites for offshore wind in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and West Australia, close to electricity transmission grids and with high capacity factors.10

1.17 Its report entitled 'Offshore Wind Energy in Australia' also noted employment opportunities that could be provided by an offshore wind industry in Australia,

7 Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (Blue Economy CRC), Offshore Wind Energy in Australia,

Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 19, blueeconomycrc.com.au/projects/offshore-wind-potential-australia/ (accessed 9 September 2021).

8 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 19. Note: this

omission has been rectified in the Australian Energy Market Operator's Inputs, Assumptions and Scenarios for the 2022 Integrated System Plan (ISP). For information on the 2020 ISP, see: Australian Energy Market Operator, 'Integrated System Plan', aemo.com.au/en/energy-systems/major-publications/integrated-system-plan-isp (accessed 9 September 2021).

9 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, pp. 3 and 7-10.

Note: an 'energy superpower' is a country that supplies large amounts of energy resources to other countries.

10 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, Chapter 4; Blue

Economy CRC, Submission 4, p. 1.

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from 3000-4000 annually in its lowest case scenario to 5000-8000 annually in its highest case scenario, from 2030.11

1.18 Blue Economy CRC concluded its report with five recommendations, the first being for the establishment of a regulatory regime for the development of offshore renewable energy in Commonwealth waters:

A major barrier to investment and development of current offshore wind projects in Australia is that Australia currently does not have a regulatory framework to enable timely permitting and leasing decisions for offshore renewable energy. Consultation on a proposed regulatory framework for the Commonwealth Government has been occurring since early 2020. Given offshore wind projects will typically cross Commonwealth and State jurisdictions, consideration needs to be given in the framework on the ways to provide complementary processes for activities that occur in both Commonwealth and State waters.12

Australian Government consideration of offshore electricity 1.19 The Australian Government noted the IEA and IRENA's position on the role of offshore wind in future energy systems and in 2019 commenced consultations on a regulatory framework for offshore clean energy infrastructure (generation

and transmission).13

1.20 Consultations initially took place with relevant Commonwealth departments and agencies, followed by the release of a discussion paper and process map for public consultation, from 3 January to 28 February 2020.14

1.21 The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) received 48 written submissions and conducted two information sessions attended by about 300 people during the public consultation phase:

Submissions and feedback received through the consultation process were strongly supportive of the proposed [offshore electricity infrastructure, (OEI)] framework. The OEI framework design was then further refined based on this stakeholder feedback.15

11 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 10.

12 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 79.

The recommendation also noted the need for government targets for reducing emissions from electricity, for the electrification of other sectors, and for building an integrated renewable energy system.

13 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), 'Offshore Clean Energy

Infrastructure-Proposed Framework', consult.industry.gov.au/offshore-clean-energy-infrastructure-proposed-framework (accessed 15 September 2021). Note: the name was changed to 'offshore renewable energy infrastructure'.

14 EM to the Bill, pp. 9-10. Note: fifteen departments and agencies are specified in the EM.

15 DISER, Submission 13, p. 3. Note: the Clean Energy Council submitted that several of its suggestions

informed the Bill: Submission 22, p. 1. In contrast, the Commonwealth Fisheries Association and

6

1.22 DISER submitted that, as a result of its extensive consultations, 'the OEI framework has been specifically designed to regulate offshore electricity infrastructure development in Australia'.16

1.23 The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the regulator for the offshore oil and gas (petroleum) industry and proposed regulator for the OEI industry, expressed confidence in its knowledge, expertise and international regulatory connections, all of which NOPSEMA submitted were central to the formation of the bills:

Having made a significant contribution to the development of [the] OEI framework, NOPSEMA is confident that it represents a leading practice approach to regulation of the sector and provides a strong foundation to allow the establishment of an offshore electricity industry in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.17

Introduction of the bills 1.24 On 2 September 2021, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction (the minister) introduced the bills into the House of Representatives.18 He described them as part of the government's actions to

strengthen the economy, create jobs and opportunities, ensure the delivery of affordable and reliable power, and reduce emissions.19

1.25 Minister Taylor explained that the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill would establish 'a regulatory framework for a new Australian industry, building on [the] government's strong record of supporting renewables projects and critical grid infrastructure'. In particular, it would facilitate and regulate the development of offshore electricity infrastructure (generation and transmission) in Commonwealth waters.20

1.26 In relation to the Levies Bill, the minister stated that it would ensure that the two proposed regulatory bodies (NOPSEMA and the National Offshore Petroleum

South-East Australian Fishing Industry submitted that their views have not been included in the Bill: Submission 21, p. 2 and Submission 20, p. 1, respectively.

16 DISER, Submission 13, p. 3. The department added that the proposed framework has been designed

to operate in conjunction with existing regulatory regimes and applies 'lessons learned from international experience'.

17 National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, Submission 8, p. 3.

18 Votes and Proceedings, No. 144, 2 September 2021, p. 2189.

19 Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, House of Representatives

Hansard, 2 September 2021, p. 1. Also see, DISER, Submission 13, p. 3.

20 Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, House of Representatives

Hansard, 2 September 2021, p. 1.

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Titles Administrator) would be 'fully cost-recovered to undertake the functions required to facilitate the life cycle of offshore electricity infrastructure projects'.21

1.27 According to DISER, the Australian Government had intended to establish the legislative settings and framework for implementation by mid-2021.22

Structure and key proposals of the bills 1.28 The Bill comprises Chapters 1-8, which set out proposed provisions for an effective regulatory framework for 'offshore renewable energy infrastructure' and 'offshore electricity transmission infrastructure' (collectively, OEI).23

1.29 'Offshore renewable energy infrastructure' is offshore infrastructure for generating electricity (such as an offshore wind farm) or other forms of energy from renewable resources, and storing or transmitting the electricity or energy.24

1.30 'Offshore electricity transmission infrastructure' is offshore infrastructure (such as an undersea cable and other infrastructure associated with the cable) for storing or transmitting electricity (including electricity not generated from renewable sources).25

1.31 The Levies Bill comprises Parts 1-3, which set out proposed provisions for the imposition of an 'offshore electricity infrastructure levy' on regulated entities.26

The Bill 1.32 Based on information received throughout the inquiry, this report examines the following key proposals and relevant provisions in the Bill:

 Chapter 2 - Regulation of offshore infrastructure activities

− prohibition of unauthorised offshore renewable energy infrastructure and offshore electricity transmission infrastructure in the Commonwealth offshore area27

− provision for the minister to declare areas that are suitable for offshore renewable energy infrastructure28

21 Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, House of Representatives

Hansard, 2 September 2021, p. 2.

22 DISER, 'Offshore Clean Energy Infrastructure-Proposed Framework'.

23 Proposed section 3 of the Bill.

24 Proposed section 10 of the Bill.

25 Proposed section 11 of the Bill.

26 Proposed section 8 of the Levies Bill. Note: this provision forms the definition of the 'offshore

electricity infrastructure levy'.

27 Proposed section 15 of the Bill.

28 Proposed section 17 of the Bill. Note: a declaration would allow for the grant of licences in respect

of licence areas in the declared area.

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 Chapter 3 - Licensing

− provision for the minister to grant four types of licence authorising offshore renewable energy infrastructure and offshore electricity transmission infrastructure in the Commonwealth offshore area29

 Chapter 4 - Management and protection of infrastructure

− licence holders must have an approved management plan for the licence, which covers the construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore infrastructure30

 Chapter 6 - Application of work health and safety laws and other laws

− application of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to offshore infrastructure activities and the application of relevant state and territory laws.31

Reports of other parliamentary committees 1.33 When examining a bill, the committee takes into account any relevant comments published by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills (Scrutiny Committee) and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (Human

Rights Committee).

1.34 The Scrutiny Committee assesses legislative proposals against a set of accountability standards that focus on the effect of proposed legislation on individual rights, liberties and obligations, the rule of law and on parliamentary scrutiny. The Scrutiny Committee had examined the Levies Bill but had no comments.32

1.35 The Human Rights Committee examines bills and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights, and reports its findings to both Houses of Parliament. The Human Rights Committee had no comments on the bills.33

29 Proposed Divisions 2-5 of Part 1 of Chapter 3 of the Bill. Note: these licences are categorised in three

streams: commercial; research and demonstration; and transmission and infrastructure.

30 Proposed section 114 of the Bill. Note: the minister and regulator will have the power to give

remedial directions to licence holders or former licence holders, including to make good environmental damage.

31 Proposed Division 2 of Part 1 and Division 1 of Part 2 of Chapter 6 of the Bill.

32 Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, Index of bills considered by the committee, as at

17 September 2021, www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Scrutiny_of_Bills/Index_of_Bills (accessed 14 October 2021).

33 Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, Index of Bills and legislative Instruments,

www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Human_Rights/Index_of_bills_and_i nstruments (accessed 6 October 2021).

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Chapter 2

Contextual information

2.1 Australia's potential offshore wind resource is vast. In comparison to the current 55 GW of generation capacity within the National Energy Market, the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre (Blue Economy CRC) has found there is the potential for 2000 GW of offshore wind capacity.1 This potential was noted by submitters and witnesses who were broadly supportive of the Bill.

2.2 This chapter outlines:

 the broad support for the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill);  proposed offshore electricity infrastructure (OEI) projects—covering both generation and transmission—that would immediately benefit from passage

of the Bill; and  views regarding the broader perspective surrounding the Bill.

Broad support for the Bill 2.3 Overwhelmingly, submitters and witnesses supported the Bill.2 There was strong backing for the establishment of a regulatory framework for offshore infrastructure activities to further stimulate the renewable energy sector

(including offshore wind), support the ongoing transition to a low emissions future, promote new employment opportunities (particularly in regional areas) and help to ensure energy security.

2.4 The Clean Energy Council (CEC), Australia's peak body for the clean energy industry, welcomed the 'much anticipated introduction of the bills to enable and accelerate the nation's offshore wind industry'.3 The council and multiple submitters—including from the offshore wind industry—highlighted that there

1 Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research, Beyond Zero Emissions, Committee Hansard, 1 October

2021, p. 24.

2 See, for example: Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd (Oceanex), Submission 7, p. 2; Newcastle Offshore Wind

Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 9, p. 1; Flotation Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 18, pp. 1-2; Maritime Industry Australia Ltd, Submission 26, p. 1; Macquarie Group Ltd (Macquarie), Submission 27, p. 3; NT Government, Submission 32, p. 2; Victorian Government, Submission 36, p. 1; Form Letters. Note: as indicated in Chapter 1, this report focuses on the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill), as submissions and evidence predominantly raised concerns with that bill. The committee acknowledges that there may be concerns with the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 (the Levies Bill) that have not been discussed in this report.

3 Clean Energy Council (CEC), Submission 22, p. 1.

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are more than 10 offshore wind projects currently waiting to move beyond the development phase (see 'Offshore wind').4

2.5 The CEC also welcomed proposed provisions that will facilitate the development of offshore electricity transmission infrastructure, including for export purposes, that will allow Australia to leverage its renewable energy resources (see 'Offshore electricity transmission').5

2.6 The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Australia's peak trade union body, strongly supported the development of the offshore wind industry, noting its potential to supply both clean energy and jobs in various sectors:

Australia's outstanding offshore wind resource, located close to regions with transmission assets and energy intensive industries, offers the chance to develop an industry providing large amounts of clean power and secure unionised jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms… It is important that this legislation is passed quickly given the delays proposed projects have experienced in the absence of a regulatory framework.6

2.7 The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) referred to a study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency, which predicted that a typical 500 MW offshore wind project will generate about 10 000 jobs over a 25-year project lifetime:

Many of these jobs could leverage Australia's existing supply chains in manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance, while others offer a green reskilling opportunity to workers in synergistic sectors such as offshore oil and gas.7

2.8 Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research at Beyond Zero Emissions, a solutions-focused climate change think-tank, told the committee that offshore wind equates to onshore jobs:

Every one job we create offshore can create eight jobs onshore, and offshore wind also creates the opportunity for our regions to become wind manufacturing hubs, producing the towers, the blades and the turbines… Going down the track a bit…it creates an opportunity for these regional areas, particularly those with deep water port facilities, to become servicing

4 CEC, Submission 22, p. 1.

5 CEC, Submission 22, p. 1.

6 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Submission 33, p. 2. The union noted the

commencement provisions in the Bill and suggested that the provisions regarding declared areas commence immediately: p. 3. Also see: Mr Glen Williams, National Vice-President and Newcastle Branch Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 28; Mr Trevor Gauld, National Policy Officer, Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 29.

7 GWEC, Submission 2, p. 2.

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hubs for the offshore wind sector. It creates long-term, stable work that utilises our existing skill base.8

2.9 Macquarie Group Ltd (Macquarie), which develops green energy projects, commented similarly on the potential employment and new skills opportunities, as well as diversification of energy resources:

Appropriately placed offshore wind projects…would further add to the existing renewable energy mix by expanding, at scale, the contribution that wind can make to the overall energy mix. Offshore wind can provide a more consistent source of generation and can also bring significant sources of generation closer to the energy demand whilst limiting the impact to onshore communities.9

2.10 RE-Alliance, formerly the Australian Wind Alliance, likewise commented:

Offshore wind diversifies our energy supply, delivering power at times when solar power and onshore wind might not be. For example, studies suggest that the wind resource off Gippsland…is strong during heat waves when Melbourne's electricity demand is highest.10

Proposed offshore electricity infrastructure projects 2.11 This chapter briefly illustrates some of the proposed offshore electricity infrastructure projects that would immediately benefit from passage of the Bill: the Star of the South; projects by Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd (Oceanex); and the

Australia-Asia PowerLink (PowerLink).11

Offshore wind 2.12 Notwithstanding earlier views about the potential for offshore wind energy in Australia (see paragraph 1.13), Macquarie submitted that the country is 'well-positioned to harness renewable energy from a diversity of sources',

including from offshore wind:

…Australia has a particular set of attributes that make it well-placed to harness this form of clean energy. These attributes include: an abundance of wind resource; characteristics of the coastal environment around Australia;

8 Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research, Beyond Zero Emissions, Committee Hansard, 1 October

2021, p. 20.

9 Macquarie Group Ltd, Submission 27, pp. 2-3. Also see: Ms Erin Coldham, Chief Development

Officer, Star of the South, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 6, who commented on the role of offshore wind in balancing the portfolio of renewable energy resources.

10 RE-Alliance, Submission 29, p. 2.

11 The report does not specifically discuss the Marinus Link, a proposed 1500 MW (1.5 GW) capacity

undersea and underground electricity interconnection to link Tasmania to Victoria, as part of Australia's future electricity grid, as submissions and evidence did not comment on that project. Note: some wind farm developers who submitted to inquiry include: Newcastle Offshore Wind Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 9 (proposed 10 GW capacity wind farm offshore Newcastle); Flotation Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 18 (proposed 1.5 GW capacity wind farm offshore Ninety Mile Beach (also known as the Gippsland Offshore Wind Farm)).

12

substantial demand for renewable energy that will continue into the longer term, particularly as Australia develops green hydrogen capability; and availability of capital looking to invest in clean energy projects.12

2.13 A number of submitters and witnesses highlighted proposed offshore wind projects around the country. They argued that the Bill would provide regulatory certainty and encourage the progression of these projects, some of which have been in the development phase for more than 10 years.

2.14 Mr Casper Frost Thorhauge, CEO of Star of the South, gave evidence that having a pathway for the future—through provision of a regulatory framework and setting out capacity ambitions—attracts industry, which is necessary for the creation of specialised supply chains and to achieve low energy costs: 'a strong signal of where the industry is heading will make everything come faster into Australia'.13

Star of the South 2.15 Star of the South is a proposed wind farm seven to 25 kilometres offshore McLoughlin's Beach (Gippsland), Victoria with a 2200 MW (2.2 GW) capacity. It has the potential to provide nearly 20 per cent of Victoria's electricity needs.

The project includes an electricity transmission network of cables and substations to connect the offshore wind farm to the strong electricity grid connection point at Latrobe Valley.14

2.16 Star of the South and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), owners and developers of the proposed wind farm, strongly supported the Bill. Their submission noted that the project has reached an advanced stage, including development timeframes:

…the project is currently in the environmental assessment phase and aims to start construction in the middle of the decade, generating full power by 2030 [and] aligning with the planned retirement of several coal generators along Australia's east coast.15

12 Macquarie, Submission 27, p. 2. Countries in which the company has developed offshore wind

projects are: the United Kingdom, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

13 Mr Casper Frost Thorhauge, CEO, Star of the South, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 7.

Also see: Mr Andy Evans, CEO, Oceanex, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 7, who added that a regulatory framework is also necessary to send a clear signal to investors that Australia is 'ready to go'.

14 Star of the South and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Submission 31, pp. 2 and 5; Star of

the South, 'Project Overview', www.starofthesouth.com.au/project-overview (accessed 22 September 2021). Also see: Ms Erin Coldham, Chief Development Officer, Star of the South, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 6, who highlighted the benefits of connecting to a strong connection point; Mr Trevor Gauld, National Policy Officer, ETU, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, pp. 29-30.

15 Star of the South and CIP, Submission 31, pp. 2 and 5.

13

2.17 Ms Erin Coldham, Chief Development Officer for Star of the South, illustrated wind energy's potential contribution to energy security, saying 'typically we would match close to 85% of Yallourn's annual average generation'.16

2.18 Star of the South and CIP highlighted that the development timeframes provide for a 'smooth and uninterrupted transition of large-scale generation to offshore wind, providing a stable electricity supply to all Victorians'. In addition, the project is forecast to provide significant economic benefits:

 around $8.7 billion in investment in Victoria over its lifetime (approximately $6.4 billion direct to the Gippsland economy);  wider economic benefits worth more than $10.4 billion for the state; and  around 2000 direct jobs in Victoria over its lifetime, including 760 Gippsland

jobs during construction and 200 ongoing local jobs once the project is operational.17

2.19 Star of the South and CIP highlighted the critical nature of its project timelines, submitting that the project needs to continue at pace. Their submission expressed concern about regulatory uncertainties which could lead to delays:

The proposed framework is a critical step towards a complete regulatory path for offshore clean energy development, but further policy and regulatory development is necessary before projects can proceed with regulatory certainty.18

Local community response 2.20 Wellington Shire Council, a local government association in Gippsland, Victoria, welcomed the introduction of the Bill, identifying offshore wind as a major future growth industry for the shire:

…projects will ultimately boost our local economy which is still recovering from recent floods, bushfires, drought and the decline of local industries including timber and coal-based generation. These renewable energy projects offer an exciting pathway for Wellington's community to benefit from a clean energy economy.19

2.21 Regional Development Australia, Gippsland Committee (RDA Gippsland) and Gippsland Regional Partnership, both comprised of local business and community leaders, advised that their region is focused on transitioning its energy sector (traditionally brown coal-based) to a clean energy sector:

16 Ms Erin Coldham, Chief Development Officer, Star of the South, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021,

p. 5. Ms Coldham noted also the potential for further generation as offshore wind develops.

17 Star of the South and CIP, Submission 31, p. 5.

18 Star of the South and CIP, Submission 31, p. 2. Also see: p. 7; Flotation Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 18,

pp. 1-2, which stated that policy and legislation must be finalised in a timely fashion to enable continued development and a 'just transition' for coal, oil and gas workers.

19 Wellington Shire Council, Submission 6, p. 1.

14

'these Bills are a significant milestone for our region and could contribute to transitioning our energy sector'.20

2.22 Voices of the Valley, a community advocacy group, submitted that for five years it has been campaigning to effect a just transition for the people of the Latrobe Valley:

…we recognise that electricity generated from burning coal is coming to an end and we look forward to opportunities for our workforce to use skills built up through decades of working in the power industry to develop various forms of clean renewable energy.21

2.23 RDA Gippsland and Gippsland Regional Partnership urged the Parliament 'to declare Gippsland the first area to be considered suitable for offshore infrastructure activities. This will allow regional benefits to be realised through continued investment in Star of the South'.22

Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd 2.24 Oceanex, an offshore wind farm developer, expressed its 'huge' support for the Bill, whose framework it described as setting out a clear pathway for the offshore wind industry to grow and prosper:

Oceanex is currently developing up to 10,000MW [10 GW] of projects in Australia including off the coast of the Hunter Valley (Newcastle), Illawarra (Wollongong/Port Kembla), Ulladulla, Eden and Bunbury. All projects are in the feasibility phase, with all pre-feasibility activities completed satisfactorily.23

2.25 Oceanex's five projects are each planned to be approximately 2 GW capacity, with the following economic benefits:

 creation of 3000+ direct jobs during a construction period of 3-4 years;  creation of 300+ direct jobs during an operating life of 30 years;  capital expenditure of approximately $10 billion; and  the powering of one million+ homes.24

2.26 Oceanex intends to expedite its Hunter Valley and Illawarra wind farm projects upon passage of the bills and the granting of the relevant licences. Similar to Star

20 Regional Development Australia Gippsland Committee (RDA Gippsland) and Gippsland Regional

Partnership, Submission 12, p. 1.

21 Voices of the Valley, Submission 5, p. 1.

22 RDA Gippsland and Gippsland Regional Partnership, Submission 12, p. 2. Also see: Ms Kate Foster,

Manager, Economic Development, Wellington Shire Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 36.

23 Oceanex, Submission 7, pp. 2-3. Also see: p. 1. For further information see: Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd,

Offshore Wind Energy as an Investment, Economic and Regional Development Opportunity for Australia, additional information received 27 September 2021.

24 Oceanex, Submission 7, pp. 3-4.

15

of the South, its submission emphasised the importance of development timeframes:

Our projects are timed to provide much-needed economic and energy benefits to coincide with numerous regional closures of power plants forecast over the next 10-15 years and Oceanex has been moving quickly to ensure that its projects can start commencing electricity production from the late 2020s to meet required demand.25

2.27 Hunter Jobs Alliance, a body of local unions and community environment groups, supported the expeditious passage of the bills. While noting that the Bill would assist with energy security and costs, its submission emphasised the potential employment benefits for the Hunter region:

It offers substantial local employment opportunity. With the appropriate industry policy, skills development, pipeline coordination and local content requirements, there is also significant opportunity to develop manufacturing, supply chain capability and downstream and upstream jobs. In a region with restricted access to capital for diversification, investor interest in offshore wind is a critical opportunity that needs to be grasped, both as a discrete opportunity and a signal to the investment community regarding regional competitive advantages, project opportunities and receptiveness to clean energy investments.26

2.28 Similar to Oceanex, HunterNet Co-Operative Limited, a network of manufacturing, engineering and specialist services companies in the Hunter and Central Coast regions, encouraged an 'urgent finalisation' of the bills and licensing regime 'to ensure that 'declared areas'…and associated licences are made available for application as soon as possible and granted [expeditiously] to allow projects to progress'.27

Offshore electricity transmission 2.29 The committee also received information regarding Sun Cable's proposed PowerLink project. Sun Cable is aiming to create a new green energy export industry by harnessing high-quality solar resources in the Northern Territory to

supply to the Indo-Pacific region:

Renewable electricity will be generated by a 14 GW solar farm with approximately 33 GWh [gigawatt hours] battery energy storage located near Elliott, NT. The electricity generated at the Solar / Storage facility will be

25 Oceanex Submission 7, p. 2. Also see: HunterNet Co-Operative Limited, Submission 11, pp. 1-2.

26 Hunter Jobs Alliance, Submission 17, pp. 1-2. Also see: Mr Glen Williams, National Vice-President

and Newcastle Branch Secretary, MUA, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 32; Mr Trevor Gauld, National Policy Officer, ETU, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 32.

27 HunterNet Co-Operative Limited, Submission 11, p. 1. Also see: RDA Gippsland and Gippsland

Regional Partnership, Submission 12, p. 1.

16

transmitted 800km overhead to Darwin and then via a 4,200km undersea high voltage direct current (HVDC)…transmission network to Singapore.28

2.30 Sun Cable's CEO, Mr David Griffin advised that the project is a long way into the design, regulatory approvals and resource assessment stages, and he sketched the project's key timeframes:

…our schedule is to achieve financial close and commence construction at the end of 2023, first supply of electricity to Darwin in 2026, first supply of electricity to Singapore in 2027 and full commercial operations by the end of 2028.29

2.31 Sun Cable welcomed the introduction of the bills, especially regarding the framework for offshore electricity transmission infrastructure:

Minister Taylor's explanation that the Bills' purpose is in part to support the development of projects like the Australia-Asia PowerLink, in recognition of the growing role that large-scale transmission projects will play in generating export revenue, creating Australian jobs, and supplying clean, affordable electricity to Australian and overseas end-users.30

2.32 Sun Cable—as well as the NT Government and CEC—suggested that the Bill could more explicitly recognise the government's commitment to growing offshore infrastructure that supports electricity exports through an amendment to the objects clause.31

Departmental view 2.33 The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) recognised the increasing interest in developing Australia's offshore area for electricity generation and transmission. It acknowledged that infrastructure projects in this

area have the potential to create significant investment in Australia, with opportunities for job creation (particularly in regional coastal communities) and for contributions to Australia's future energy security.32

2.34 DISER noted that the 2020-21 Federal Budget committed $4.8 million to develop the regulatory framework proposed in the Bill to enable the emergence of an OEI industry in Australia: 'the proposed bills will provide industry with the

28 Sun Cable, 'Australia-Asia Power Link', suncable.sg/australia-asia-power-link/

(accessed 21 September 2021).

29 Mr David Griffin, CEO, Sun Cable, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 10.

30 Sun Cable, Submission 16, p. 1. Also see: NT Government, Submission 32, p. 1, which noted that the

Australia-Asia PowerLink will help to position Australia as 'a world-leader in intercontinental transmission of renewable electricity'.

31 Sun Cable, Submission 16, p. 3. Also see: CEC, Submission 22, p. 4; NT Government, Submission 32,

p. 2. Note: Friends of the Earth suggested that action on climate change and emissions reduction could also be reflected in the objects of the Bill: Submission 23, p. 3.

32 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Submission 13, p. 3.

17

certainty needed for long term investment in offshore electricity infrastructure projects in Commonwealth waters'.33

The broader perspective 2.35 Some submitters and witnesses indicated that the development of OEI should not be considered in isolation. For example, Associate Professor Penelope Crossley, an expert in renewable energy law and policy at The University of

Sydney Law School, highlighted the need for legislative consistency in Commonwealth laws.34

2.36 Friends of the Earth, a grassroots environmental network, argued that the Bill is a 'light touch' approach toward establishing an offshore wind industry in Australia: 'a more comprehensive suite of policies will be required to maximise the benefits of kick-starting an offshore renewable energy sector for the climate, community and environment'.35

2.37 The Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and ACTU agreed that Australian governments should be more engaged in policy development and planning for the offshore wind industry. The ETU and MUA submitted that a broader package is needed to fully deliver economic benefits through the energy transition:

…the Bill is framed as if there are no broader social or environmental rationale for the development of offshore wind, and only the most limited role for government in planning and facilitating these projects. Around the world, other countries are taking the following actions to accelerate the development of their offshore wind industries, and Australia is far behind:

 setting clear targets for offshore wind construction with local content requirements  investing in research and development and port-side innovation and manufacturing hubs  building offshore wind training centres  doing baseline environmental research  coordinating the construction of transmission infrastructure to the

offshore substation  providing long-term energy contracts

After being held back for so long, a full industry package is necessary to accelerate the development of offshore wind in Australia and the potential jobs and transition opportunities it could support.36

33 DISER, Submission 13, p. 3.

34 Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, pp. 1-2, who noted particularly different definitions of the

term 'renewable energy resource'. Also see: proposed section 13 of the Bill.

35 Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 2.

36 ETU and MUA, Submission 30, p. 6. Also see: Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers

and Australian Maritime Officers Union, Submission 25, p. 4; ACTU, Submission 33, p. 4.

18

2.38 Newcastle Offshore Energy Pty Ltd pointed out that offshore renewable energy targets have proven effective in other countries for developing a viable and sustainable offshore wind industry, and advocated the same for Australia:

These targets should be delivered in line with retiring fossil fuel plant and or growth of new industries such as green hydrogen, to facilitate a just and sustainable transition to renewables. These targets should also be considered in line with our global commitments to emission reduction targets.37

2.39 Mr Glen Williams, National Vice-President and Newcastle Branch Secretary of the MUA, acknowledged however that the broader measures 'are the kinds of measures that the government could be taking in the medium term, after the legislation is passed and perhaps with a new parliament'.38

2.40 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager of the Clean Energy Branch at DISER, responded to calls for broader policy considerations, observing that 'the broader sort of energy and climate policies are not part of this bill development' which is to enable development of OEI only.39

37 Newcastle Offshore Wind Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 9, p. 2. Also see: Friends of the Earth,

Submission 23, p. 3, which commented that the establishment of renewable energy targets has driven the deployment of onshore wind and solar projects.

38 Mr Glen Williams, National Vice-President and Newcastle Branch Secretary, MUA, Committee

Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 29.

39 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, p. 48.

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Chapter 3 Key issues

3.1 This chapter examines certain parts of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill) that submitters and witnesses argued could be improved, namely:

 the process for declaring areas for offshore renewable energy infrastructure (OREI);  the licensing scheme;  managing infrastructure;  the application of work health and safety (WHS) laws; and  future legislative and policy work.

Process for declaring areas for offshore renewable energy infrastructure 3.2 The Bill proposes to empower the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction (the minister) to declare specified areas in the Commonwealth offshore area

suitable for OREI. The Bill sets out the process that must be followed by the minister before making a declaration:

 a notice proposing to declare the area must be published, inviting public submissions on the proposal within 60 days;  the closing date for submissions must have passed;  the minister must have consulted with the Minister for Defence and the

Minister administering section 1 of the Navigation Act 2012; and  the minister must be satisfied that the area is suitable for OREI.

3.3 The Bill also sets out matters to which the minister must have regard when making a decision.1

3.4 The Victorian Government focussed on the mandatory consultation requirements, submitting that the Bill should require the minister to consult with the states and territories prior to making a declaration, given the necessary interaction between governments in the offshore renewable energy sector (see 'Future legislative and policy work').2

3.5 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, all experts in energy law, agreed:

Consultation with affected states and territories should also precede the declaration of suitable areas. States and territories will play a key role in most offshore energy projects developed in Commonwealth waters due to associated onshore infrastructure required for construction, operation,

1 Proposed sections 17 and 19 of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure Bill 2021 (the Bill).

2 Victorian Government, Submission 36, pp. 1-3.

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maintenance, and decommissioning activities. Consequently, states and territories may provide valuable inputs before a declaration is made... States and territories will be able to propose adjustments in the location of proposed areas to consider existing port infrastructure capacity, issues regarding grid connection, potential conflicts in uses outside Commonwealth waters, among other issues.3

3.6 Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich, Mr Pettit and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) also argued that the minister should be required to consult the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. In addition:

This requirement should trigger strategic assessments of environmental conditions of proposed areas for offshore renewable energy infrastructure, thereby contributing to adequate marine spatial planning.4

3.7 As explained by the legal experts:

Without prior strategic environmental assessments, environmental issues will only be considered in environmental assessments submitted by project proponents, i.e., after an area is declared as suited for offshore renewable energy infrastructure. Consequently, project proponents who were granted licences under the proposed licensing scheme may have an increased risk of experiencing delays in their environmental approval processes (or even approval refusals). Critical environmental issues should be flagged as early as possible to avoid the declaration of areas that are not environmentally suited for offshore renewable infrastructure.5

3.8 The AMCS concurred with the need for proper consideration of environmental impacts, as well as cultural and social impacts, in the selection and assessment of declared areas:

…decisions need to be made with adequate information about the environmental, cultural and social values of a marine area and the potential impacts from different types of infrastructure, including importantly, the cumulative impacts from existing and planned development and activities (and expected climate change impacts).6

3.9 The Victorian Government also expressed concerns about the level of environmental or other technical assessments that will be undertaken by the minister prior to declaring an area, as well as potential developers access to this information:

…the more work that is done up-front to de-risk a potential area of seabed for the development of offshore electricity infrastructure, the greater

3 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 6.

4 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 6; and

Australian Marine Conservation Society, Submission 10, p. 1. Also see: Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 6.

5 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 6.

6 Australian Marine Conservation Society, Submission 10, p. 1. Also see: Dr Penelope Crossley,

Submission 34, p. 6.

21

confidence developers will have to apply for licences and develop projects… The [offshore electricity infrastructure (OEI)] Bills should clarify the role of bodies like Geoscience Australia in collecting information about prospective areas of seabed and provide some guidance as to the level of environmental assessments that will be carried out prior to areas of seabed being declared. The ability of project proponents to have regard to information about declared areas should also be clarified.7

3.10 Several other submitters commented on the identification of prospective areas. The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) submitted, for example:

…there are no provisions explaining how or why the Minister would begin a declaration process, or timelines for when such a process would be complete. This means financiers and developers have no certainty when they will be able to proceed to a project feasibility licence application… A developer, a government energy planning agency, or a state government, should be able to request that a Minister commence a pre-declaration assessment, and know when they will receive a reply.8

3.11 Macquarie Group Ltd (Macquarie) submitted that it would welcome 'a consistent framework that facilitates proponents making proposals for suitable areas for declaration, based on their own assessment on site suitability'. It noted that there is international precedent for such a framework:

[In the United Kingdom] the Crown Estate initially invited proponents to submit information on their areas of interest for consideration, ahead of lease tendering and awards. In that instance, the Crown Estate was able to access technical information that it could rigorously assess, but the cost had been borne by the proponent.9

Departmental response 3.12 The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) noted that 'it is Australian Government policy to manage the marine environment in a way that recognises all users and balances competing interests'. Its submission

highlighted ways in which the Bill achieves this balance, including by guaranteeing that consultation will occur across government and with communities before any decision is made to declare an area suitable for OREI.10

3.13 Departmental representative Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager of the Clean Technology Branch, impressed that 'it's a matter for government to identify the

7 Victorian Government, Submission 36, p. 3.

8 Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Submission 30, pp. 18-19.

Also see: Clean Energy Council (CEC), Submission 22, p. 2; Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Submission 33, p. 3; Victorian Government, Submission 36, p. 1.

9 Macquarie Group Ltd (Macquarie), Submission 27, p. 3. The submission also noted precedents in the

Philippines and Korea.

10 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Submission 13, pp. 5-6.

22

priorities and the order or sequencing of declared areas, and to identify which areas should go ahead'. Further, 'there is no provision that mandates or sets a time frame for declaring areas'.11

Committee view 3.14 The committee notes that a wide range of affected stakeholders expressed views about the process for declaring areas suitable for OREI. The committee considers that there is merit in expanding the consultation requirements to specifically

include the Minister for the Environment, affected state and territory governments, energy planning authorities and developers. The committee also considers that there should be greater transparency and timeframes incorporated into the declaration process. The committee supports further consideration being given to these matters as the bills progress through the Parliament.

Licensing scheme 3.15 The Bill would empower the minister to grant licences for offshore infrastructure activities in the Commonwealth offshore area. The specifics of the licensing scheme—such as applications, the offer and grant of licences, transfer

of licences, changes in control of licence holders and management plans—are to be prescribed in regulations.12

3.16 Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich and Mr Pettit noted that it is good regulatory practice to place 'much of the day-to-day regulation of offshore electricity activities in the yet-to-be drafted Regulations'. However, they remarked that this can also be problematic:

…the Bill refers many critical regulatory requirements to the Regulations…but does not determine what WILL be in the Regulations—at present the Bill only indicates what MAY be in the regulations. This creates uncertainty for investors and project proponents and requires clarity for the Bill to proceed.13

11 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, p. 44.

12 Proposed section 29 of the Bill.

13 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 2

(capitalisation in the original). Also see: Mr Steve Blume, President, Smart Energy Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 15, who said that 'high level principles should be in the Bill'; Dr Penny Howard, National Research Officer, MUA, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 31, who said in relation to the MUA's three key concerns that there needs to be some amendment to the Bill.

23

3.17 Most submitters expressed concern however with specific aspects of the proposed licensing scheme, such as changes in control of licence holders, merit criteria and interference with other activities by licence holders.14

Changes in control 3.18 The Bill would require persons who propose to begin or cease control of licence holders to obtain approval from the Registrar (the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA)), and creates offences and civil penalties for

persons who begin or cease control of licence holders without prior approval.15

3.19 Star of the South and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) submitted that the proposed provisions would place a significant burden on projects, owners, and government, as there are complex financing and contractual arrangements for large offshore energy projects that would regularly trigger the provisions:

Examples of these complex arrangements include 'control' moving from one fund to another without any change in practical control. Control may also change in instances where a party's share of ownership of a project changes (sometimes automatically) when the project reaches certain milestones.16

3.20 Mr Anthony Lamb, Macquarie's Head of Offshore Projects, Asia-Pacific, reminded the committee that the large infrastructure projects to be covered by the Bill are multi-billion dollar concerns. Further:

…over the lifetime of developing, constructing and operating the assets the nature of the risk, and the capital associated with that, really does change. So to ensure efficient flow of capital in and out of the sector, and to ensure that the sector can be delivered in the way we all hope, I would encourage the right balance on those controls on ownership between the natural safeguards government is looking for but not impeding too much that flow of capital.17

3.21 Star of the South and CIP suggested what they described as a minor technical amendment to allow for different change in control thresholds for individual licences:

This would allow for change of control matters to be considered transparently during the licence application process and to have those matters directly regulated in the licence itself, while still maintaining the government's intended outcomes. This could be achieved by amending

14 Also see, for example: proposed subsection 32(3) of the Bill; ETU and MUA, Submission 30, p. 22;

Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 6, who argued that feasibility licences should only be granted based on social, environmental and economic criteria, not financial offers or ability to pay.

15 Proposed Part 3 of Chapter 3 of the Bill.

16 Star of the South and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Submission 31, p. 8.

17 Mr Anthony Lamb, Head of Offshore Wind Projects, Asia-Pacific, Macquarie Capital, Committee

Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 5.

24

section 84(3) to read "The licensing scheme or a licence may prescribe a different percentage, or different percentages".18

Merit criteria 3.22 For licences to be granted to eligible people, the minister must be satisfied that a licence 'meets the merit criteria'. This term encompasses matters such as technical and financial capability, the viability of a project, suitability of the

applicant and other prescribed matters.19

3.23 Several submitters and witnesses questioned the scope of the merit criteria, primarily on the grounds that the criteria should also include economic development, local content and benefit-sharing.20

3.24 Dr Chris Briggs and Dr Sven Leske, based at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, submitted, for example:

The permitting process for offshore wind should include economic development and local supply chain involvement criteria to create requirements and incentives for industry development. Community benefit including benefits to Traditional Owners should also be incorporated. The use of local content criteria has been successfully used in onshore renewable energy auctions in the ACT and Victoria and in offshore wind auctions and programs internationally.21

3.25 The Brotherhood of St. Laurence considered that community benefit should give specific consideration to First Nations people:

Research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can gain significant social and economic benefits from local energy projects where they are able to participate (e.g. in planning and employment) and have 'a significant financial stake and have power over other areas of the development to ensure it is in line with their cultural values and responsibilities'.22

18 Star of the South and CIP, Supplementary Submission 31, p. 1.

19 Proposed sections 34, 44, 53 and 62 of the Bill.

20 See, for example: Hunter Jobs Alliance, Submission 17, p. 3; Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 5;

RE-Alliance, Submission 29, pp. 2-3; Ms Taryn Lane, Director, Smart Energy Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 13.

21 Dr Chris Briggs and Dr Sven Leske, Submission 3, p. 2. Also see: Blue Economy Cooperative Research

Centre (Blue Economy CRC), Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 81, blueeconomycrc.com.au/projects/offshore-wind-potential-australia/ (accessed 9 September 2021); Mr Rocco Perna, Submission 15, p. 2; and Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research, Beyond Zero Emissions, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 22, who said that local content would particularly help to establish the industry in its early stages.

22 Brotherhood of St. Laurence, Submission 24, p. 1. Also see: Mrs Wendy Farmer, President, Voices of

the Valley, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 40.

25

3.26 In this regard, Mr David Griffin, CEO of Sun Cable, noted that its project has engaged Traditional Owners over an extended period of time in relation to the solar precincts:

We're in the midst of preparing an Indigenous benefits package…and that's going to continue well into 2022… We've got a very clear understanding of what their expectations are… Unsurprisingly, they're very interested to know what the training opportunities, the employment opportunities and the business opportunities are. One thing they have repeatedly made very clear…is that their experience has been with a major project coming in that the major project says, 'We're going to need lots of workers,' and then at the start of construction they go to the community and say, 'We need electricians and people for other high-skill jobs,' and nobody has those skill sets in the local community, so all those jobs have to be filled from outside. The point they're making is: don't come to us the day you start construction and say you need these highly skilled workers; come to us years in advance and say, 'How are you going to get the skills that we need? How are you going to train between now and then?' so that the local community are ready to go and provide those skill sets to meet your requirements. That's something that we're really working on as a primary focus.23

3.27 Similar to Dr Briggs and Dr Leske, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) expressed the view that the merit criteria for the commercial and transmission and infrastructure licence streams should include 'creating employment and promoting local industry, manufacturing and jobs; increasing employment and income opportunities for First Nations communities; and contributing to a just transition for impacted energy workers and communities'.24

3.28 Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd CEO Mr Andy Evans was optimistic about a just transition and developing the local supply chain, telling the committee that Australia already has many of the necessary skills sets and parts of the supply chain, and that these need to be supported and partly regenerated.25

3.29 Mr Steve Blume, President of the Smart Energy Council, added that, development of the local supply chain will also have a flow-on effect to other industries, such as to onshore mining and the minerals and metals processing sector:

…what we need to grasp is that this is the biggest economic opportunity the world has ever seen, and we can be in the lead of that… There is no conflict between doing this materials stuff with renewables, and climate change and

23 Mr David Griffin, CEO, Sun Cable, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 11. Also see: Sun Cable,

answers to written questions on notice, 1 October 2021 (received 7 October 2021).

24 ACTU, Submission 33, p. 3. Also see: proposed sections 30, 39 and 58 of the Bill, for the purpose

provisions.

25 Mr Andy Evans, CEO, Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 7.

26

zero carbon, and activities between now and 2030 to reduce our emissions. There is no conflict in that at all.26

3.30 Friends of the Earth and RE-Alliance referenced the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction scheme, with the latter noting the 'minimum local content requirements set by Government, something that could be emulated at a Federal level for offshore wind'.27

3.31 Hunter Jobs Alliance's Mr Warrick Jordan commented that, while there might be a temptation to favour wholly-imported supply chains, as occurred in the United Kingdom, this temptation should be resisted in Australia:

What we saw with the UK…is that 10, 15 years ago, when they were in a similar position to us, there was very much an emphasis on more or less wholly-imported supply chains, with maybe 10, 20 per cent local content. What they had there was a backlash from communities, local government and others when some of the promised benefits weren't delivered, and then a recognition that the opportunity was there. So, subsequently, they've seen things like the offshore wind sector deal, where their local content has now risen up to 50 per cent and there are aspirations to go higher to 60 per cent. You can see what that's done, in terms of their now having onshore blade manufacturing, high-voltage subsea and other components, and that's employing a lot of people. But essentially they missed an opportunity over those first 10 or 15 years.28

3.32 Some submitters and witnesses—including Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich and Mr Pettit—raised the question of whether the Bill should provide for community compensation, as occurs at the Middelgrunden wind farm in Denmark:

In Denmark, offshore wind turbines are located less than 16 kilometres from the coastline, and offshore wind law requires that obliged local citizens whose visual amenity is impacted by offshore energy installations are offered compensatory benefits amounting to at least 20% of ownership shares of the project. Under Australia's proposed Bill, there are no explicit community benefit schemes. This is an important omission, since creating laws to increase community participation and engagement could reduce any

26 Mr Steve Blume, President, Smart Energy Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, pp. 15-16.

Also see: Dr John Whittington, CEO, Blue Economy CRC, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 22, who considered that the Bill will help re-industrialise Australia, noting in particular opportunities for Australian steel; Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research, Beyond Zero Emissions, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 23, who agreed that there are significant opportunities for Australia to 'move up' the value chain, particularly in commodity resources.

27 RE-Alliance, Submission 29, p. 4. Also see: Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 5.

28 Mr Warrick Jordan, Coordinator, Hunter Jobs Alliance, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 37.

27

risk of "not in my backyard" (Nimbyism) attitudes, even when the activity is located offshore.29

3.33 Ms Taryn Lane, Director of the Smart Energy Council, the peak industry body for the solar, green hydrogen, wind storage and smart energy management industries, argued that, if the Bill were to incorporate benefit sharing in the merit criteria:

…it can provide clarity and a pathway for proponents to work early on high-quality community engagement and benefit sharing, rather than it being at the discretion of a project proponent or the ability for a local community to negotiate positive outcomes.30

Interference with other activities by licence holders 3.34 The Bill would create offences for licence holders who interfere with certain activities—including Native Title rights and interests, and fishing—where the interference is greater than is necessary for the reasonable exercise of licence

holders' rights or legal obligations.31

3.35 Friends of the Earth and Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich and Mr Pettit queried the meaning of 'necessary' and 'reasonable', with the legal experts submitting that the vague wording could result in projects proceeding, even when those projects conflict with Native Title rights: 'given that the [Native Title Act 1993] extends to the jurisdiction of the Bills, native title rights and interests must be clarified and protected'.32

3.36 The Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA), the peak body representing commercial fishers under Commonwealth legislation, argued that the proposed approach asks infrastructure proponents to coexist but in reality, they are 'given a priority over other users'. Further the CFA submitted that the Bill does not address unreasonable loss of access or compensation to commercial fishers:

Offshore renewable energy is likely to see significant investment and growth as the world transitions to renewable energy sources, yet its growth will come at the cost of existing users of the marine domain, in particular commercial fishers.33

29 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 6.

Also see: Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 8, who submitted that most onshore developments and large infrastructure projects that impact on visual amenity do not have compensation schemes.

30 Ms Taryn Lane, Director, Smart Energy Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 13. Also see:

Star of the South and CIP, Submission 31, p. 6, which have voluntarily created a local presence in the Gippsland region from the outset of the Star of the South wind farm project.

31 Proposed sections 77 and 78 of the Bill.

32 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 5.

Also see: Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 6.

33 Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Submission 21, p. 3.

28

3.37 The South-East Australian Fishing Industry agreed that 'fishing industry balance sheets are sensitive to marine space being transferred to other commercial interests':

Fishing industry property rights exist in the form of access to grounds and often also as the right to take a proportion of a sustainable catch (quota). The value of these rights [is] impacted by catch revenue, costs to catch, assessment (science) risks and environmental impacts caused by the sector. If fishing grounds are reduced (for instance by the transfer of those grounds to an offshore windfarm) then revenues fall and catch costs increase— reducing the value of these rights.34

3.38 Other submitters contended that the Bill should give more consideration to the allocation and sharing of the Commonwealth offshore area. The Blue Economy CRC submitted, for example:

With many [offshore wind projects] already in the development pipeline, Australia would benefit from proactive consideration, via Marine Spatial planning, to resolve potential conflicts in uses of the marine domain and ensuring it remains sustainably managed.35

3.39 The AMCS agreed that there is a need for a robust strategic planning process to enable 'integrated and coordinated planning and management of current and future uses of the marine environment, while ensuring the ongoing health of the marine environment':

[Marine spatial planning] should identify areas of conservation importance that should be excluded from threatening processes, including areas that would qualify for protection but that have not yet been afforded that status. This legislation needs to recognise that conservation measures [are] often far behind operational activity, and that scientific understanding of many of the high priority natural values in the marine environment is in its infancy.36

3.40 Macquarie expressed particular concern about the possible interaction between offshore wind infrastructure and offshore oil and gas activities. Its submission noted the United Kingdom's experience where it was necessary to develop guidance 'setting out the mechanism for managing the interaction between offshore wind and offshore oil and gas', including compensation:

We recognise that NOPTA and [the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA)] being both the registrar and regulator for offshore wind and oil and gas could potentially

34 South-East Australian Fishing Industry, Submission 20, p. 2.

35 Blue Economy CRC, Offshore Wind Energy in Australia, Final Project Report, July 2021, p. 79;

Blue Economy CRC, Submission 4, p. 2. Also see: Newcastle Offshore Wind Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 9, p. 1, which argued that there should be zoning and mapping of appropriate offshore areas for renewable energy development; and Mr Joska Ferencz, Chief Operating Officer, Basslink Pty Ltd, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 41, who raised concerns about interactions with existing electricity infrastructure under other regulatory regimes.

36 Australian Marine Conservation Society, Submission 10, p. 2.

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be beneficial in managing this theoretical conflict. To support NOPTA and NOPSEMA, we would suggest that guidance be given at the outset.37

3.41 The Global Wind Energy Council supported 'a robust government-led marine spatial planning process…to reduce cross sector conflict between different ocean users',38 while the Blue Economy CRC expressed a keen interest in acting as an independent broker to facilitate:

…the development of a framework for marine spatial planning that provides for a transparent, evidenced based approach to the sustainable use of our shared marine estate, including regard for the needs and wishes of the traditional owners and the interests of a diverse range of industries and interest groups.39

3.42 Dr John Whittington, CEO of the Blue Economy CRC, told the committee that marine spatial planning is an emerging area of policy and research, and 'trying to write it proscriptively into the bill now would be the wrong way of doing it'. Instead:

[We should] work with the policymakers on developing best practice and building on world experience; that's certainly what Blue Economy is hoping to do. If I was tasked to write the policy right now, I don't think I'd have the information to do [it] right on day 1.40

Departmental response 3.43 DISER acknowledged that much detail of the licensing scheme is to be set out in regulations. Its representative Mr Murphy noted that work has been proceeding sequentially:

Most of our resources have been dedicated to the bill in the first instance. We then started work on the regulations that support the commencement of the bill and the policy work for the declarations. Once we have the licensing scheme established in regulation, we'll be required to have the supporting policy.41

3.44 In relation to the merit criteria, Mr Murphy advised that the Australian Government is not specifically considering amending the Bill to include economic development, local content or benefit sharing:

The government has a lot of policy in regard to local content and manufacturing… The government has the Modern Manufacturing

37 Macquarie, Submission 27, p. 4.

38 Global Wind Energy Council, Submission 2, pp. 2-3.

39 Blue Economy CRC, Submission 4, p. 3. Also see: Dr John Whittington, CEO, Blue Economy CRC,

Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 21, who advised that the centre is about to commission some fairly extensive work on marine spatial planning.

40 Dr John Whittington, CEO, Blue Economy CRC, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 21.

41 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, p. 45. Also see: DISER, Submission 13, p. 5.

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Strategy… It has a specific road map for clean energy and recycling, and that is designed to support projects. One of the criteria is that it has a specific aim to support domestic manufacturers to benefit from opportunities created by large energy projects.42

3.45 DISER also pointed out that the Bill employs a range of approaches for the sharing of the Commonwealth offshore area, for example:

 limiting licences in areas recognised for specific purposes;  requiring strategies for minimising risks to existing users;  applying licence conditions to manage co-use;  imposing additional consultation requirements; and  requiring impacts on existing users of the marine environment that may be

occurring under separate legislation to be minimised, such as commercial fishing activities.43

Committee view 3.46 The committee heard that the licensing scheme proposed in the Bill is widely supported, subject to a few specific concerns.

3.47 The committee accepts that the first of these concerns—changes in control provisions—identifies a potentially significant regulatory burden that submitters argue can be remedied without much difficulty and without impacting government policy. The committee encourages the government to actively consider these suggested amendments prior to the Bill's passage.

3.48 In relation to the suggested additions to the merit criteria, the committee acknowledges the strong view that legislative support should be given for economic development, local supply chains and community benefits. The committee welcomes the significant and wide-spread benefits that would result from the Bill. At the same time the committee is not in favour of the addition of highly specific or prescriptive merit criteria to the Bill. In these circumstances, and noting the department's evidence, the committee suggests that the Australian Government should consider incorporating broad socio-economic benefits as part of the merit criteria in the overall administrative framework.

3.49 The committee recognises that the allocation and use of Australia's precious marine resources is highly contested. A related matter was recently also examined by the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee in its Inquiry into the impact of seismic testing on fisheries and the marine

42 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, p. 45. Also see: p. 48 where Mr Murphy notes investments through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

43 DISER, Submission 13, pp. 5-6.

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environment.44 This competition is likely to continue given the forecast growth of offshore renewable energy. In these circumstances, the committee supports the development of comprehensive, robust and equitable marine spatial planning underpinned by a sound evidence base. As this matter is beyond the scope of the Bill and its associated regulations, the committee encourages the Australian Government to support the Blue Economy CRC to develop best practice marine spatial planning guidance in anticipation of increased offshore electricity infrastructure deployment, without delaying that deployment.

Managing and protecting infrastructure 3.50 The Bill would require licence holders who propose to conduct offshore infrastructure activities to have a management plan for the licence. This plan would cover a range of matters, for example, environmental management and

the maintenance and removal of property.45

Environmental management 3.51 As part of a management plan, licence holders would have to address environmental matters, such as their compliance with any obligations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act)

or its regulations, in relation to the activities to be carried out under the licence.46

3.52 Some submitters and witnesses expressed concern with the level of environmental protection provided for in the Bill. For example, Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich, Mr Pettit and Friends of the Earth noted that Professor Graeme Samuel in an independent review of the EPBC Act recently recommended a significant overhaul of that Act.47

3.53 Professor Hunter and her colleagues referred especially to the North Sea jurisdiction as 'a comprehensive blueprint for offshore wind international best practice'. This blueprint includes environmental monitoring programs and marine spatial planning for the early industry, as well as integration with legislation that provides environmental protections. These components were

44 See:

www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communication s/SeismicTesting/Report (accessed 6 October 2021).

45 Proposed section 115 of the Bill.

46 Proposed paragraph 115(1)(c) of the Bill. Also see: Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel

Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, pp. 2-3, which notes that only this one provision in the Bill explicitly and proactively refers to the environment.

47 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 2; and

Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 6.

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drawn from development of the offshore wind industry in both Denmark and the United States.48

3.54 Dr Briggs and Dr Leske submitted that there is a need to acquire more baseline information on the environmental and social dimensions of offshore wind energy, as these are largely untested and unknown in the southern hemisphere:

More research and collection of baseline data is required to understand the effects of offshore renewable energy on ocean and local communities, and on economies and local environments. Global knowledge gained in reducing the potential environmental effects of offshore wind turbines must be transferred to an Australian context. This work should not be left to individual companies, and the value of shared data agreements should be recognised.49

3.55 Professor Hunter, Dr Frohlich and Mr Pettit considered that the Australian Government should be actively involved in and fund the collection of this baseline data, suggesting that the Bill be amended to include 'provisions that explicitly allow and incentivise the use of money from financial offers, fees and levies for the collection and dissemination of such data'.50

Removal of property 3.56 The Bill would require licence holders to remove all structures, equipment and other property from the licence area that is neither used nor to be used in conjunction with authorised activities.51 Friends of the Earth explained that these

proposed provisions would particularly apply at the end of projects' lifespans when assets are repurposed or decommissioned:

Offshore renewable energy projects are long-term assets that will generate electricity for many years… The typical lifespan of a wind farm is at least twenty five years or more, with many projects now increasing their expected useful lifespan to thirty years. At the end of a project's lifespan, decommissioning may involve either full or partial dismantling of an offshore wind project, reuse or recycling of components, or full or partial repowering to extend the useful lifetime of projects.52

3.57 Many submitters and witnesses supported the decommissioning provisions proposed in the Bill but several argued that there are circumstances in which it would not be appropriate to remove OEI. For example, the CEC highlighted that

48 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 4.

49 Dr Chris Briggs and Dr Sven Leske, Submission 3, p. 2. Also see: Hunter Jobs Alliance, Submission 17,

p. 4.

50 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 7.

51 Proposed subsection 116(2) of the Bill.

52 Friends of the Earth, Submission 23, p. 7.

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'the removal of inert, sub-sea transmission cables could present a higher environmental risk than leaving them in-situ'.53 Sun Cable concurred:

This is especially true of subsea transmission infrastructure, such as HVDC cables which are buried under the seabed for many decades prior to decommissioning. Such buried infrastructure is inert and extraction from the seabed is likely to cause more disturbance to the marine benthic environment than decommissioning the equipment in situ. Further, extraction activities may present risks to other offshore infrastructure, such as operational gas pipelines or telecommunications cables which interface with the infrastructure on the seabed.54

3.58 In Sun Cable's view, the preferred approach is to allow the regulator and/or the minister the power to determine 'whether leaving certain infrastructure in place provides a net environmental benefit, based on a case-by-case assessment of the environmental risks and benefits associated with decommissioning activities'.55

3.59 Recreational fishers argued that OEI can provide sites for offshore aquaculture and large-scale artificial reefs, which would benefit, among other things, aquaculture, commercial fisheries production and recreational fishing opportunities. Recfishwest, the peak body for recreational fishers in Western Australia, submitted, for example:

…well designed offshore renewable energy infrastructure will, following their service life, provide highly productive habitats that assist large-scale fishery production, Recfishwest believe that once decommissioned, these installations provide greater benefit to the environment and the community by being left in situ.56

3.60 DigsFish Services Pty Ltd suggested that the removal of OEI would not be desirable in most cases:

…this would kill enormous numbers of marine animals and destroy their ecological function as artificial reefs. Removing reefs to other locations may also be contraindicated by the fact that offshore energy projects are recognized as potential biosecurity threats as they allow opportunities for "stepping stone colonisation" of new regions by marine pests…and potentially, also disease agents.57

53 CEC, Submission 22, p. 2.

54 Sun Cable, Submission 16, p. 1.

55 Sun Cable, Submission 16, p. 1.

56 Recfishwest, Submission 19, p. 3.

57 DigsFish Services Pty Ltd, Submission 1, p. 1.

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Provision of financial security 3.61 Where there is a management plan, the Bill would require licence holders to provide the Commonwealth with financial security sufficient to pay any costs, expenses and liabilities that could arise in connection with or as a result of:

(a) the decommissioning of licence infrastructure; and

(b) the removal of equipment and other property from the licence area or a vacated area; and

(c) the remediation of the licence area and vacated areas, and any other area affected by activities carried out under the licence.58

3.62 Many submitters and witnesses supported the concept of the proposed financial security scheme but some voiced concerns about the lack of detail in the Bill. For example, Dr Penelope Crossley indicated that the paucity of information makes it difficult to determine whether the scheme will be effective.59 Star of the South and CIP commented:

There is no guidance, cap, or calculation regarding the amount, nature or term of financial security that must be provided by the proponent. We understand this type of approach is unprecedented in Australia for the offshore and onshore energy and resource industries.60

3.63 The NT Government queried how the regulations might calculate the amount of security required from licence holders, noting that each project will have its own requirements and risk considerations:

The Territory…recommends that these differences are reflected in the methods applied in determining whether, and the form of, financial security that is required to ensure that the financial security is commensurate with project-specific risks.61

3.64 Flotation Energy Pty Ltd argued that not only must the amount of the financial security be reasonable but that the Bill should also clarify timing for the provision of the security: 'financial security should not unduly quarantine working capital (e.g. before construction commences), which could deter or inhibit proponents from investing in projects'.62

3.65 Mr Griffin from Sun Cable agreed:

…there is no logic in imposing financial bonds on day one, that would sit there and cause an economic burden on the project and therefore the cost of

58 Proposed subsection 117(1) of the Bill.

59 Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 3.

60 Star of the South and CIP, Submission 31, p. 9. The submission noted certain matters that industry

expects to see covered in the regulations.

61 NT Government, Submission 32, p. 3. Also see: proposed subsection 117(3) of the Bill; Sun Cable,

Submission 16, p. 2; and CEC, Submission 22, p. 2, which both commented on the minimal decommissioning costs that could be expected for sub-sea transmission cables left in situ.

62 Flotation Energy Pty Ltd, Submission 18, p. 2.

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electricity et cetera for the next 60 years. That is just counterproductive. Of course, there might be something that happens over time that gives the regulator cause for concern. We think that it's probably appropriate that the regulator might have the ability to consider how that infrastructure is performing in the environment as it approaches the end of its operational life.63

3.66 The CEC suggested aligning decommissioning payments with projects' operational earnings:

One possible model would be a ratcheting bond, featuring low payments in the early years of operation (when debt repayments are highest), increasing during the asset's operation such that the full cost of decommissioning would be set aside by the later years of the asset's life. This approach would smooth the total cost over the project's life and allow the bond to be funded by cash-flow from the asset rather than being an upfront lump-sum equity contribution.64

3.67 Several submitters endorsed this proposal, including Sun Cable:

…where subsea cable removal is required in part or in full, Sun Cable recommends a ratcheting bond as a possible model for consideration. The proposed model would see payments begin thirty years into the licence term, and then progressively increase such that the full cost of decommissioning is covered ten years prior to the asset's end of design life.65

3.68 Dr Crossley added that, to keep abreast of projects, the Bill should also require the periodic revision of management plans and adopt a strategic asset management approach:

Periodic revisions will ensure there is not a shortfall in the Financial Security Reserve at the end of life of the project, and that the Management Plan is adopting industry best practice to meet the relevant environmental standards upon decommissioning.66

Departmental and NOPSEMA response 3.69 DISER highlighted that there are protections to ensure OEI projects will be undertaken in an environmentally responsible way, including the need for environmental approval under the EPBC Act:

Commonwealth marine areas are matters of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act. This means any offshore electricity infrastructure projects that will have, or are likely to have a significant

63 Mr David Griffin, CEO, Sun Cable, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 4.

64 CEC, Submission 22, p. 2. Also see: Mr Steve Blume, President, Smart Energy Council, Committee

Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 18.

65 Sun Cable, Submission 16, p. 2. Also see, for example: Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 3.

66 Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 4.

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impact on the environment, must be referred to the Minister for the Environment and undergo environmental assessment and approval.67

3.70 DISER also pointed out that, under the Bill, licence holders will have to demonstrate how their environmental obligations will be met, as well as any other environmental management requirements, such as remediation:

The Regulator [NOPSEMA] will monitor compliance with the approvals granted under the EPBC Act and ensure that continuous improvement in environmental management performance is achieved through periodic revision of management plans. This ensures impacts and risks are being managed throughout the life of a project.68

3.71 DISER submitted that environmental risks are further managed by the proposed requirement for licence holders to decommission infrastructure and address environmental remediation for any incidents at the end of a project's life, to the regulator's satisfaction.69

3.72 Mr Stuart Smith, CEO of NOPSEMA, specifically noted however:

…there is discretion that can be exercised by the regulator to allow things to remain in situ depending on the environmental outcome. If there's going to be a positive environmental outcome because things are being left in situ then there is the opportunity for the regulator to allow it, which is the same for offshore oil and gas infrastructure.70

3.73 Departmental representative Mr Murphy informed the committee that the concerns raised by submitters and witnesses in relation to the financial security scheme have been considered, and the proposed provisions are 'scalable and tailor-made for the nature of the activities':

The bill requires the financial security to match [the stage of construction]— you can't deploy any infrastructure unless you have security that's sufficient to cover that stage of your construction. It's a very scalable approach. Also the management plan has review cycles in it, so you could review the amount of security needed not only in response to the project but also in response to what are acceptable environmental practices... All of these offshore activities occur in hazardous environments, and things can go wrong… There are a lot of assumptions that a cable can be nicely rolled out and left there for decades, but the financial security will also cover the construction phase and needs to be sufficient if something goes wrong.71

67 DISER, Submission 13, p. 7.

68 DISER, Submission 13, p. 7.

69 DISER, Submission 13, pp. 7-8.

70 Mr Stuart Smith, CEO, NOPSEMA, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 48.

71 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, pp. 47-48. Also see: NOPSEMA, Submission 8, p. 4, which advised that the provisions guarantee the appropriate decommissioning of assets, consistent with international best practice: 'the security amounts required and the timing of securities will vary and will be commensurate to the project/activity'.

37

Committee view 3.74 The committee heard that submitters and witnesses generally support the proposed requirement for a management plan for licences. The committee acknowledges that the Bill contains environmental protections that are assisted

and complemented by other Commonwealth laws such as the EPBC Act. The committee agrees that international experience can inform the development of the offshore wind industry in Australia, with translation to the local context, noting that NOPSEMA would consider these models where appropriate (see paragraph 1.23).

3.75 The committee understands that the aim of the decommissioning provisions proposed in the Bill is to protect the environment. The committee notes NOPSEMA's advice that the regulator has discretion to allow infrastructure to remain in situ if that best serves environmental objectives. The committee encourages the government to make clear the criteria NOPSEMA will apply in relation to that discretion, noting Australia's international environmental obligations.

3.76 The committee heard that while submitters and witnesses support the proposed financial security scheme some are concerned that the regulations will require surplus security and will effectively lock up capital when projects require the use of those funds. The committee accepts that some security is required from the outset and that this amount is reviewable throughout the life of a project. The committee urges DISER to examine the concept of security 'ratcheting' as it formulates the regulations for consideration by the Australian Government.

Application of work health and safety laws 3.77 The Bill proposes to apply the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) to certain activities in the Commonwealth offshore area, with some legislative modifications to ensure that the provisions are fit-for-purpose for the offshore

environment.72

3.78 Legal experts highlighted the hazardous and high risk environment of offshore wind projects. Dr Crossley particularly noted risk statistics compiled by the Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation that show:

…a total recordable injury rate within the offshore wind sector of 5.5 injuries per million hours worked in 2019, which compares to a rate of 0.92 injuries per million hours worked in the offshore petroleum sector.73

72 Proposed Division 2 of Part 1 of Chapter 6 of the Bill.

73 Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 5. Also see: Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel

Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 5; and Dr Penny Howard, Policy Officer, MUA, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 33.

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3.79 Dr Crossley submitted that the offshore petroleum sector has a bespoke work, health and safety (WHS) regime and questioned why the Bill would propose the WHS Act for the much more hazardous OEI industry:

Working offshore and at significant heights carries with it increased risks for employees and contractors. It is for this reason that most countries in the world have a specific offshore work health and safety regime for the petroleum sector.74

3.80 Workers' representatives did not agree that a bespoke approach is necessary, welcoming the general application of the WHS Act which, they argued, would apply modern and widely understood WHS systems and processes to offshore electricity work. In their view, the proposed modifications to the WHS Act would create:

…an entirely new and bespoke work health and safety regulatory regime, significantly different to all existing WHS regimes. This in turn introduces a lack of certainty and transparency to the Bill's application and misses an opportunity to remove regulatory duplication.75

3.81 The ETU and MUA voiced concerns about some of the proposed changes—such as the removal or rending inoperable of several important provisions of the harmonised WHS system and the application of more than one WHS regime76— but also objected to the bespoke new WHS regime:

…establishment of a new WHS regime for offshore electricity is contrary to the objective of harmonisation of WHS laws agreed through Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) National Reform Agenda. The formal harmonisation process established by the Intergovernmental agreement for regulatory and operational reform in occupational health and safety in July 2008 should be adhered to. Occupational Health and Safety in specific industries or in relation to specific hazards "should only be separately regulated where it is periodically and objectively justified". No such justification has been presented. A recent review of the harmonised WHS system found that if the objective of harmonisation "is to be sustained into the future, it is critical that all jurisdictions commit to it".77

3.82 Mr Liam O'Brien, Assistant Secretary of the ACTU, emphasised that the model WHS laws cover a diverse range of industries, demonstrating that they are 'very

74 Dr Penelope Crossley, Submission 34, p. 5. Also see: Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act

2006, Schedule 3; Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit, Submission 14, p. 5.

75 ETU and MUA, Submission 30, p. 12. Also see: ACTU, Submission 33, p. 2.

76 ETU and MUA, Submission 30, pp. 12-17. Also see: Hunter Jobs Alliance, Submission 17, p. 4; and

Maritime Industry Australia Ltd, Submission 26, p. 2.

77 ETU and MUA, Submission 30, p. 12.

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fit-for-purpose'. Mr Gauld from the ETU suggested that, in fact, the Bill is 'being built to suit NOPSEMA rather than being built to suit the industry'.78

Departmental and NOPSEMA response 3.83 DISER submitted that the protection and safety of the OEI workforce is assured by the application of the WHS Act:

These model WHS laws are an established, nationally agreed standard for managing work health and safety. The [Bill] provides for direct alignment with the model WHS laws, maximises consistency with the states and territories that have adopted these model laws, and guarantees the [Bill] will stay aligned with these national standards should they change in the future.79

3.84 The department noted also that NOPSEMA has extensive experience regulating industries in the high hazard and risky offshore environment.80 The proposed regulator agreed that it has 'strong operational knowledge of the offshore environment and associated health and safety requirements and can ensure the offshore electricity sector establishes and maintains the high standards'.81

3.85 NOPSEMA CEO Mr Smith acknowledged that the WHS Act has never before been applied in the offshore area but assured the committee that NOPSEMA has carefully considered the proper application of that Act:

We have sought extensive advice and worked pretty closely with the Attorney-General's Department about how we can apply the model legislation because we do think it is best practice, and having it in the bill would mean that if there is ever future harmonisation in the main area, that would be picked up automatically. If that Act [the WHS Act] was modified, it would be picked up automatically by the [OEI] bill.82

Committee view 3.86 The committee notes the vital importance of the health and safety of OEI workers. The committee notes that NOPSEMA, which significantly informed development of the bills,83 advised that it has sought legal advice to ensure that

the appropriate protections are provided. In addition, the department advised

78 Mr Liam O'Brien, Assistant Secretary, ACTU, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, pp. 30-31; and

Mr Trevor Gauld, National Policy Officer, ETU, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 33.

79 DISER, Submission 13, p. 6.

80 DISER, Submission 13, p. 6. Also see: Blue Economy CRC, Submission 4, p. 4; and NOPSEMA,

Submission 8, p. 3.

81 NOPSEMA, Submission 8, p. 4. The Authority added that it understands the importance of

consultation with workers and workforce representatives on safety matters.

82 Mr Stuart Smith, CEO, NOPSEMA, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 49.

83 See 'Australian Government consideration of offshore electricity', Chapter 1.

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that it has sought to promote harmonisation in this space, as agreed by the 2008 National Reform Agenda.

Future legislative and policy work 3.87 Although the Bill and the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Regulatory Levies) Bill 2021 are 'ready to go',84 submitters and witnesses observed throughout the inquiry that additional future legislative and policy work is required to

complete the regulatory framework. For example, introduction of the Offshore Electricity Infrastructure (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2021,85 and completion of the licensing scheme (see 'Licensing scheme') and financial security scheme (see 'Provision of financial security'), which are to be detailed in the regulations.86

3.88 DISER representative Mr Murphy advised that the department is currently planning its consultation process for the regulations, with a focus on those that are first required in the proposed framework. This consultation process is expected to take place in the first half of 2022 and to be completed within six months.87

3.89 As the development of offshore renewable energy progresses, the Victorian Government argued that governments will need to closely coordinate legislation, policies, guidelines, et cetera. Its submission noted the various and necessary jurisdictional intersections, for example, support for renewable energy development and navigation of requirements in the Commonwealth offshore area and coastal waters.88

3.90 DISER also noted that the Bill will operate in conjunction with existing regulatory requirements, including those applicable at the state and territory level:

The complex nature of the offshore renewable energy generation and transmission projects captured under the OEI framework means there will be a number of different regulatory regimes with which each project may need to align. For example, consider a project for an offshore wind farm:

84 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, p. 46.

85 Explanatory Memorandum (EM) to the Levies Bill, p. 2. Also see: Mr Paul Murphy, General

Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 47, where he advised that this bill is 90 per cent drafted and intended to be introduced during the current session of Parliament.

86 See, for example: Dr John Whittington, CEO, Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre, Committee

Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 21; Mr Brent McAlister, General Manager Development, Wellington Shire Council, Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 36.

87 Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch, DISER, Committee Hansard,

1 October 2021, pp. 46 and 47.

88 Victorian Government, Submission 36, p. 2.

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it will require a licence under this OEI framework to construct infrastructure in the Commonwealth offshore area, but will also need to ensure the different component materials are transported to the licence area in line with international and domestic maritime laws, that the transmission cables that run through state waters and onshore meet state government requirements, and that the generation outputs of the project meet obligations under Australia's National Electricity Laws.89

3.91 The Victorian Government suggested that it would be beneficial to create an Australian-Victorian Government oversight body:

This governance group could consider declared areas, the licensing scheme which is to be developed, how interactions between current and future marine users (such as oil, gas and carbon capture and storage projects) are coordinated, and how to streamline environmental approvals across state, territory and Commonwealth borders.90

Committee view 3.92 The bills have been introduced to establish a regulatory framework for offshore infrastructure activities, both generation and transmission. Throughout the inquiry, there was strong and wide-spread support for these objectives, with

governments, developers, investors, unions, researchers, academics, environmentalists, communities and individuals eager to see the bills expeditiously enacted.

3.93 The committee notes the significant economic, social and environmental opportunities that will be promoted through the Bill, particularly if the legislative framework is well-crafted from the outset. The committee agrees that it is important for the framework to be enacted as soon as possible, to create industry certainty, sufficient lead time for complex project design and financing, and workforce delivery in alignment with forecast closure of current energy assets.

3.94 The committee also notes that the regulations, which will set out significant parts of the OEI operational framework, will not be complete until well into 2022. However, the committee considers it necessary to take this time to consult widely and develop and present complex and articulate legislation.

3.95 The continuing regulatory development phase presents the Australian Government with the opportunity to consider the extensive and valuable feedback to this inquiry. While some suggestions might require more long-term consideration, the committee considers that there are others where there can be a more immediate response such as:

89 EM to the Bill, p. 4.

90 Victorian Government, Submission 36, p. 2. Also see: Ms Lucinda Tonge, Policy Officer, CEC,

Committee Hansard, 1 October 2021, p. 16, who identified workforce training as another area for collaboration.

42

 amending the objects clause to better incorporate electricity transmission objectives (see paragraph 2.32);  amending the consultation requirements for declared areas (see paragraph 3.13); and  considering amendments to the changes in control provisions

(see paragraph 3.20).

3.96 The committee accepts that the bills establish a framework where much of the detail is not yet known, however this framework is intended to support highly valuable offshore infrastructure activities that will contribute significantly to Australia's economy and clean energy future.

Recommendation 1

3.97 The committee recommends that the Senate pass the bills.

Senator Andrew Bragg Chair

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Labor Senators' Additional Comments

1.1 Labor Senators strongly support the committee's recommendation that the bills be passed.

1.2 Labor has long called for legislation to unlock the benefits of offshore renewables, and particularly offshore wind generation. As well as enormous generation capacity, offshore wind promises thousands of jobs and billions in investment for regional communities—including those most impacted by changes in global energy markets.

1.3 It is regrettable that those benefits have been delayed by the government. It had promised that 'the legislative settings and framework aim to be in place and operational by mid-2021'.1 Instead, one of three necessary bills has not even been introduced, and the development of detailed regulations will take well into 2022.

1.4 While recommending that the bills be passed as soon as possible, Labor Senators share the committee's bipartisan view that the minister should consider:

 amending the objects clause to better incorporate electricity transmission objectives (see paragraph 2.32);  amending the consultation requirements and adding timeframes for declarations (see paragraph 3.13); and  amendments to the changes in control provisions (see paragraph 3.20).

1.5 Labor Senators urge the minister to adopt these suggestions, which have been made by government and non-government Senators alike.

1.6 However, the report fails to properly reflect the serious concerns that have been raised about the Bill's work health and safety (WHS) framework.

1.7 The committee heard substantial evidence that the government has not in fact adopted the harmonised national WHS law in the bills. Instead, the committee heard that the government has amended those laws beyond recognition.2

1.8 This is highlighted by the fact that a worker would be subject to one regulatory regime onshore, a second while in transit on a vessel, and a third while working on an offshore renewable project.3 This poses confusion and risks for workers and employers alike.

1 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, 'Offshore Clean Energy Infrastructure-

Proposed Framework', consult.industry.gov.au/offshore-clean-energy-infrastructure-proposed-framework (accessed 15 September 2021).

2 See paragraphs 3.79-3.80.

3 See, for example: Electrical Trades Union and Maritime Union of Australia, Submission 30, p. 14;

Maritime Industry Australia Ltd, Submission 26, p. 2.

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1.9 Labor Senators acknowledge differing evidence from DISER, the regulator and stakeholders representing both employers and workers in the industry. Given the significant difference of opinion, Labor Senators urge the government to urgently undertake further consultation on both the content of the WHS provisions and their coverage. The government should consider amendments to ensure the Bill's WHS framework is fit-for-purpose and properly implements WHS harmonisation principles.

1.10 The report fails to address evidence on the importance of legislative support for merit criteria on socio-economic benefits.

1.11 The committee heard consistent evidence that the merit criteria for licences should ensure benefits for local workers, businesses, communities, and First Nations people. The committee also heard that it was important for these requirements to be reflected broadly in legislation, in order to allow and ensure they are reflected in detail in regulations.

1.12 Labor Senators urge the government to consider a legislative amendment to ensure benefits for local communities.

Senator Anne Urquhart Substitute Member

Senator Nita Green Committee Member

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Australian Greens' Additional Comments

1.1 The Australian Greens view this legislation as crucial to the urgent tasks of driving coal and gas out of Australia's domestic energy system and replacing coal and gas exports for our energy customers around the world.

1.2 What can be enabled through this Bill is a staggering 2000 gigawatts (GW) of potential wind energy as well as a network of undersea transmission systems linking Australia's vast onshore solar and wind resources with our customers throughout the Pacific and Asia.1

1.3 While there are some improvements that should be made to the Bill, the legislation should promptly be passed into law. This will allow projects stalled by the absence of any regulatory environment to proceed, such as the 2.2 GW Star of the South which will replace Australia's oldest and dirtiest coal plant, Yallourn, in Victoria's LaTrobe Valley and Oceanex's 10 GW of projects situated offshore of NSW's coal regions of the Hunter Valley and Illawarra.

1.4 Projects like this are perfectly suited for the transition of skilled labour from coal regions into the next generation of energy employment. To ensure our abundance of renewable resources are matched by an abundance of Australian jobs, the Bill should be amended so that the merit criteria for feasibility licences, commercial licences and transmission licences include local procurement of labour and goods right through logistics and supply chains.

1.5 Tens of thousands of jobs located near existing deep water ports and industrial centres can be created through an amendment for local procurement. By harnessing the abundance of our offshore wind resources, we can drive the cost of energy down—potentially close to zero—giving Australia a competitive edge to bring manufacturing back to our shores and ensure heavy industry can continue in a carbon constrained global economy.

1.6 While proponents of projects have emphasised that they are already actively seeking out partnerships and collaboration with Australian industry and unions, the politically agreed importance of this expansion in jobs should be secured by legislation and not just rely on the goodwill of energy companies and the minister of the day.

1.7 An associated change to licence conditions that should be removed from the legislation is the acceptance or consideration of financial offers for licences in subsection 32(3) of the Bill.

1.8 These offshore tenements should be managed in the public interest of ensuring the rapid development of clean energy. Financial offers encourage financial

1 Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research, Beyond Zero Emissions, Committee Hansard, 1 October

2021, p. 24. Also see, For example: paragraph 2.29.

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speculators to secure access to the most resource rich resources and later flip the licences for short term profit while driving up production costs in these most sought after locations.

1.9 A third change to the Bill should be the suggestion put forward during the inquiry by Sun Cable that would make it clearer that one of the main objects of the law is to encourage clean energy exports.2 While nothing in the substance of the legislation stops the achievement of Australia exporting its vast renewable resources to the world, for clarity and purpose—to both investors and lawyers— this implicit objective of the legislation should be made explicit.

1.10 Finally, the WHS provisions should be fully harmonised with the National WHS system to ensure the simplicity, safety and security of the offshore clean energy workforce. This will remove duplication and complexity for both workers and employers alike while also improving personal safety in what can be a dangerous environment.

1.11 While this Bill could, and should be improved, given the track record of the responsible minister and this government to sabotage clean energy policies, the Australian Greens are concerned that forcing the government to make changes could be used as a reason to withdraw the entire legislation, putting Australia even further behind global progress and slowing our inevitable march to an economy where coal and gas remain in the ground.

Senator Hanson-Young Deputy Chair

2 See paragraph 2.32

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Appendix 1

Submissions and Additional Documents

1 DigsFish Services Pty Ltd 2 Global Wind Energy Council 3 Dr Chris Briggs and Dr Sven Teske  Attachment 1

4 Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre 5 Voices of the Valley 6 Wellington Shire Council 7 Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd 8 National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management

Authority

9 Newcastle Offshore Wind Energy Pty Ltd 10 Australian Marine Conservation Society 11 HunterNet Co-Operative Limited 12 Regional Development Australia, Gippsland Committee and the Gippsland

Regional Partnership 13 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources 14 Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, Dr Miguel Frohlich and Mr Jordie Pettit 15 Mr Rocco Perna 16 Sun Cable 17 Hunter Jobs Alliance 18 Flotation Energy Pty Ltd 19 Recfishwest 20 South-East Australian Fishing Industry 21 Commonwealth Fisheries Association 22 Clean Energy Council 23 Friends of the Earth Australia 24 Brotherhood of St. Laurence 25 Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers and Australian Maritime

Officers Union 26 Maritime Industry Australia Limited 27 Macquarie Group Ltd  27.1 Supplementary to submission 27

28 Her Excellency Ms Pernille Dahler Kardel, Ambassador, Royal Danish Embassy 29 RE-Alliance 30 Electrical Trades Union and Maritime Union of Australia 31 Star of the South and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners

 31.1 Supplementary to submission 31

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32 NT Government 33 Australian Council of Trade Unions 34 Dr Penelope Crossley 35 Confidential 36 Victorian Government 37 Wollongong City Council

Additional Information 1 Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd, Offshore Wind Energy as an Investment, Economic and Regional Development Opportunity for Australia, received 27 September 2021

Answer to Question on Notice 1 Sun Cable - Answers to written questions taken on notice, 1 October 2021 (received 7 October 2021) 2 Maritime Union of Australia - Answer to question taken on notice, public

hearing, Canberra, 1 October 2021 (received 8 October 2021) 3 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources - Answers to questions taken on notice, public hearing, Canberra, 1 October 2021 (received 11 October

2021)

4 Bureau of Meteorology - Answer to written questions taken on notice from Senator Hanson-Young, 7 October 2021 (received 12 October 2021)

Form Letters 1 Standard letter (with variations) received from 100 individuals: example

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Appendix 2 Public Hearings

Friday, 1 October 2021 Via Videoconference

Star of the South  Mr Casper Thorhauge, CEO  Mr Matthew Stuchbery, Head of Regulatory Affairs  Ms Erin Coldham, Chief Development Officer

Sun Cable  Mr David Griffin, CEO  Ms Georgie Skipper, Chief of Corporate and Government Affairs

Oceanex Energy Pty Ltd  Mr Andy Evans, CEO

Macquarie Group Ltd  Mr Anthony Lamb, Head of Offshore Wind Projects, Asia-Pacific

Clean Energy Council  Ms Lucinda Tonge, Policy Officer

Smart Energy Council  Mr Steve Blume, President  Ms Taryn Lane, Director

Beyond Zero Emissions  Mr Tom Quinn, Head of Policy and Research

Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre  Dr John Whittington, CEO  Professor Irene Penesis, Research Director

Friends of the Earth Australia  Mr Patrick Simons, Yes2 Renewables Community Coordinator

Electrical Trades Union  Mr Trevor Gauld, National Policy Officer

Maritime Union of Australia  Mr Glen Williams, National Vice-President and Newcastle Branch Secretary  Dr Penny Howard, National Research Officer

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Australian Council of Trade Unions  Mr Liam O'Brien, Assistant Secretary  Mr Mark Wakeham, Senior Advisor, Climate, Energy and Just Transitions

Regional Development Australia, Gippsland Committee and the Gippsland Regional Partnership  Mr Richard Elkington, Chair  Mrs Michelle Dowsett, Acting Deputy Chair

Voices of the Valley  Mrs Wendy Farmer, President  Ms Marianne Robinson, Secretary

Wellington Shire Council  Mr Brent McAlister, General Manager Development  Ms Kate Foster, Manager Economic Development

Hunter Jobs Alliance  Mr Warrick Jordan, Coordinator

Basslink Pty Ltd  Mr Joska Ferencz, Chief Operating Officer

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources  Ms Kushla Munro, Head of Division, International Climate and Technology Division  Mr Paul Murphy, General Manager, Clean Technology Branch  Mr Graeme Waters, Titles Administrator

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications  Ms Maree Bridger, First Assistant Secretary, Surface Transport Policy Division  Mr David Stephens, Director, Maritime Environment and Trade, Surface

Transport Policy Division

National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority  Mr Stuart Smith, CEO  Mr Owen Wilson, Project Lead - Offshore Energy

Attorney-General's Department  Mr Adrian Breen, Assistant Secretary, Safety, Compensation and Institutions Branch