That prior to the grant of any further exploration approvals, the following areas must be declared reserved blocks under section 9 of the Petroleum Act, each with an appropriate buffer zone:
- areas of high tourism value;
- towns and residential areas (including areas that have assets of strategic importance to nearby residential areas);
- national parks;
- conservation reserves;
- areas of high ecological value;
- areas of cultural significance; and
- Indigenous Protected Areas.
Action item update
A consultation paper was released for public comment on 24 May 2019. The consultation period ended 21 June 2019.
The government has considered the submissions and finalised its policy on reserved blocks in July 2019, in accordance with the Inquiry’s recommendations.
The process for declaring reserved blocks under s9 of the Petroleum Act will commence immediately. There will be a staged approach to declaring reserved blocks. Areas to be declared a reserved block and maps of the areas