AU State Govt Seeks Support from Industry

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore has written to petroleum, gas and oil companies seeking support for the State Government's opposition to plans for a national offshore petroleum regulator.

Mr. Moore said his letter explained how the Federal Government's plan would strip regulatory responsibility from Western Australia and hand it to Canberra.

"The State Government believes in an efficient, consistent and fair system of petroleum administration, which is why it is opposed to the Federal Government's proposal," he said.

The Minister said the Department of Mines and Petroleum had recently received an independent report on the Federal Government's proposal.

Rather than adopt the new national regulator model, the report suggested the Federal Government should strengthen its role as an auditor of petroleum activity to improve the efficiency of regulatory approvals.

"WA proposes the establishment of a Federal agency to ensure existing regulators comply with best practice regulation," Mr. Moore said.

"States would act as designated authorities and administer regulations regardless of whether the offshore operations were in Commonwealth or State waters; the Federal Government would audit the regulators to ensure their competency and efficiency."

The Minister said best practice regulation was dependent on the entire regulatory framework working well, not just the architecture of the regulator.

"The Federal Government's current proposal only alters the structure of the regulator - it does not change the rules which underpin it or the way companies are meant to provide information," he said.

"The current system is not broken and has worked well for the past 50 years. We should fix those areas which are cumbersome or outdated rather than jettisoning the entire regulatory regime."

Mr. Moore said the State Government had a responsibility to regulate activities that could affect WA's economy, environment and community.