About the legislative process associated with the Commonwealth Government response to the Productivity Commission Review of regulatory burden on the upstream petroleum (oil & gas) sector
On 25 May, Minister for Resources and Energy, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM, MP introduced into the Parliament a package of five amendment Bills to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act) and associated Acts to:
- expand the functions of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) to become the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), the regulator of occupational health and safety, integrity of facilities and wells, environmental management and day-to-day operations relating to petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters
- create a National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA), in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, to advise the Joint Authority on petroleum titles and to administer titles and data
- impose cost–recovery levies on holders of offshore petroleum titles in respect of environmental approvals and titles administration under the OPGGS Act to fund the new regulatory activities of NOPSEMA and NOPTA
- allow the Commonwealth to retain the monies for a period that are payable under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Registration Fees) Act 2006 (the Registration Fees Act) to recover the establishment costs of NOPSEMA and NOPTA
- make consequential amendments to the Registration Fees Act and the Offshore Petroleum (Royalty) Act 2006
- exclude application of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 to the registration of dealings in titles under the OPGGS Act and the Offshore Minerals Act 1994.
The package of Bills was then referred by Minister Ferguson to the House of Representatives Committee. The committee received written submissions on 10 June 2011, held hearings on 17 June 2011 and reported on 27 June 2011. The Senate also jointly referred the package of Bills for inquiry and report. The Senate Committee held hearings on 7 June 2011 and their Inquiry Report was tabled in the Senate on 16 June 2011.
Both committees recommended the passage of the Bills through the House of Representatives and the Senate (with a dissenting report from the Coalition Senators). In delivering its findings, the House of Representatives Committee recommended an amendment to the Royalty Bill to replace the functions of the Designated Authority in the Offshore Petroleum (Royalty) Act 2006 with the responsible state minister, rather than the Titles Administrator. As a result a government amendment was moved to implement this recommendation. The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills also, as a matter of course, examined the Bills and made a recommendation relating to a technical aspect of the National Regulator Bill regarding incorporation of extraneous material into directions. Further government amendments were moved to implement this recommendation. On 6 July 2011 the Bills passed the House of Representatives with these two amendments.
The Bills were passed by the Senate on 14 September 2011 with a single amendment proposed by the Greens to increase the size of the NOPSEMA Advisory Board by one member. This amendment to the National Regulator Bill was referred back to the House of Representatives on 15 September 2011 and was passed.
For further information on the legislative process, contact the Offshore Petroleum Regulatory Reform.
Offshore Petroleum Regulatory Reform
GPO Box 1564
Canberra ACT 2601