That prior to the grant of any further exploration approvals, in order to ensure independence and accountability, there must be a clear separation between the agency with responsibility for regulating the environmental impacts and risks associated with any onshore shale gas industry and the agency responsible for promoting that industry.
Action item updates
The amendment to the Administrative Arrangement Orders were completed on 27 February 2019. This resulted in Minister for Environment and Natural Resources having administrative responsibility for provisions of the Petroleum Act 1984 relating to environmental regulation of petroleum activities (including the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations 2016 and the Environmental Offences). Minister for Primary Industry and Resources holds all other regulatory functions and powers under the Petroleum Act 1984.
Amendments to the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Act 2012 commenced on 30 November 2018 allowing for additional members to be appointed to the NTEPA and introducing changes that will allow ministers to seek the authority’s advice on a range of specific proposals and plans targeting improved environmental management and protection. Two new NT EPA members with extensive experience in the petroleum industry commenced on 1 January 2019 and the NT EPA has begun providing the Minister advice to inform decisions as to whether or not to approve Environment Management Plans and what conditions should be attached.