Australia to Streamline Approval Process for Offshore Petroleum Activities

The Australian Government announced Friday that it has taken an important step towards ensuring a "one-stop-shop" approval process for offshore petroleum activities in Australian waters.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane, Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt and CEO of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) Jane Cutler have agreed to undertake a strategic assessment of NOPSEMA’s current environmental management processes.

“The environmental impacts of offshore petroleum activities are currently regulated under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006,” said Macfarlane.

“This dual assessment, monitoring and enforcement creates duplication and is an unnecessary burden on business without any additional environmental protection benefits."

“The Government has prioritized this strategic assessment so that NOPSEMA’s environmental regulation can be recognized as meeting the requirements of the EPBC Act without additional referral or approval required from a separate Commonwealth regulator.”

“The outcome of the strategic assessment will deliver faster environmental approvals, reduce duplication in environmental assessments and regulation and promote Australian industry and protect employment while maintaining integrity of the environmental approvals process,” said Hunt.

“The strategic assessment will need to demonstrate that the current high environmental standards can be achieved in protecting our marine environment. I will not accept any lessening of standards for protection of Australia’s marine environment."

“This is part of the overall policy to create a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals and follows the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Queensland as the first stage in this process.”

The strategic assessment will be robust and transparent, including public consultation on the draft strategic assessment report, to be released in late 2013.


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