NOPSEMA has continued to implement a number of initiatives aimed at improving transparency and community confidence in the offshore petroleum regulatory regime.
A significant milestone was reached on 25 April 2019 with amendments to the Environment Regulations coming in to force.
The effect of these amendments was to require the full publication of all environment plans on submission to NOPSEMA as well as full publication of final environment plans if and when accepted. In addition the new regulations also require a mandatory 30 day public comment period for all seismic survey and exploratory drilling environment plans.
The April 2019 amendments are complementary to those made in February 2014 which introduced requirements for OPPs that provide an opportunity for public comment on offshore development activities.
Throughout the development and implementation of the amendments to the Environment Regulations, NOPSEMA coordinated the Transparency Taskforce Steering Committee comprising state and Northern Territory petroleum regulators,
the Commonwealth Department of Industry Innovation and Science (DIIS), the Law Council of Australia, APPEA, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) and Seafood Industry Australia.
The Transparency Taskforce provided a collaborative and coordinated forum to ensure that relevant stakeholders were working together to prepare for transparency and to develop and progress complementary initiatives to support improved engagement outcomes.
NOPSEMA continued to engage with the Community and Environment Reference Group on a number of matters throughout the year including changes to NOPSEMA guidance and advice in preparation for transparency.
The group comprises eight members and the NOPSEMA CEO as Chair. Members participate as individuals rather than as an affiliate or representative of any particular organisation or group. Members provide NOPSEMA with a range of different perspectives broadly reflective of the community, including: commercial and recreational fishing, conservation advocacy, public policy and government functioning, small business and tourism, cultural heritage and Indigenous communities; as well as regional perspectives from the north-west, south-east and northern regions of Australia.