Australia Creates National Offshore Safety Agency

Earlier this week the Australian Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Rsources announced the creation of a National Offshore Safety Agency to improve safety in the offshore petroleum industry. Thhis agency will be established with the announcement of a 3 year funding package of $6.1 million.

The Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, announced the initiative saying: "The National Offshore Safety Agency will replace six existing regulators with a single agency covering both Commonwealth and State coastal waters. The agency will address the many problems which stem from having separate State-based systems."

"Recent safety reviews have identified deficiencies in the current regulatory framework. A single agency will improve safety outcomes and deliver world-best practice safety regulation for Australia," said Mr. Macfarlane.

A single agency will reduce the regulatory burden on an industry which operates across multiple jurisdictions. By delivering a consistent and comprehensive coverage of safety it will increase Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for petroleum investment.

The offshore petroleum industry is strategically important to Australia’s future economic performance. Australian consumers need secure supply at a competitive price - a strong local industry is essential for meeting this demand. "Any serious disruption to this supply, for example through an accident on a production platform, could have major economic consequences. While such events are unlikely, the costs of such a disruption would be high.

"A joint offshore safety agency will provide significant community benefits, ensuring better safety outcomes by reducing risks to the environment and to individuals working on the offshore platforms," Mr. Macfarlane said. The agency will report jointly to the Commonwealth, State and NT ministers.