About Australia's environmental protection requirements
The Australian Government requires petroleum and greenhouse gas (GHG) companies to conduct their activities in a manner that meets a high standard of environmental protection.
The petroleum industry's environmental record in Australia, particularly in offshore areas, has been exemplary. It could be expected that any petroleum proposal in offshore areas would be approved provided high environmental standards are met.
The objective based Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009 (Environment Regulations) provide companies with flexibility in meeting environmental protection requirements.
- Onshore and coastal waters environmental approval processes
In Australia, the state and territory governments own and administer petroleum rights over land and coastal waters within three nautical miles of the coastline. While the Australian Government has some responsibilities regarding environmental protection in these areas, the state and territory governments are the main environmental management authorities.
- Offshore environmental approval processes
The Australian Government has jurisdiction for the regulation of petroleum and greenhouse gas activities for Australia's offshore areas beyond coastal waters. The Offshore Environmental Approval Processes Flowchart (Related documents) outlines environmental approval processes for petroleum exploration activities in Commonwealth waters.
Summaries of approved Environment Plans
Under the Environment Regulations, an operator is required to submit a Summary Environment Plan to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) for public disclosure.
Within ten days of receiving notification that the Environment Plan has been accepted, an electronic version of the summary must be submitted to NOPSEMA to be published online.
Summary Environment Plans submitted for petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2011 are available for public access (see Related pages below).
Summary Environment Plans submitted for petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters from 1 January 2012 are available on the NOPSEMA website.
For more information about Australia's environmental approval processes, see Related documents.
For information about instances where an additional environmental approval is required, see Permits and Commonwealth Reserve approvals.