Public consultation now open on No Go Zones for onshore gas

Issued 24 May 2019

Territorians are invited to comment on which areas should be exempt from exploration or production activities related to onshore petroleum.

A reserved block, or No Go Zone, is land that is not able to be considered as part of a land release for exploration, and companies are not able to apply for an exploration permit or licences for these areas.

A consultation paper has been developed and expands on the commitments made by the NT Government to protect certain areas of the Territory from ever being subject to petroleum exploration or production activities as part of the recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.

This will be achieved by declaring areas of land as reserved blocks (no-go zones) under the Petroleum Act 1984. The areas identified include: 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; Indigenous Protected Areas and areas that are not prospective for onshore gas.

In detailing these proposed reserved block areas the government has considered a number of other existing factors such as granted exploration permits that have potential reserved block areas within them and Aboriginal Land and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) 1976.

There will be some areas that can be declared reserved blocks very quickly, while other areas will take some time, and likely require negotiation with exploration permit holders.

Comments received from the public during the consultation will be considered by the Territory Government before it finalises reserved block areas where onshore petroleum activity will not occur in the Territory.

The Territory Government will consult with Traditional Owners through the relevant land councils to determine whether or not they would like to declare areas within Aboriginal Land as reserved blocks. The Territory Government will negotiate with petroleum companies who hold granted exploration permits and have applications for exploration permits (that are not on ALRA land) to ensure the areas the Inquiry identified should be declared reserved blocks are removed from existing permits and not be considered during the permit application process.

The consultation paper is available to view online at Territory Government’s Have Your Say website

Submissions can be made via the website or via email at Public submissions are open until 21 June 2019.

To read the latest from the NTG Newsroom, please visit NTG Newsroom

Read the Consultation Paper: Proposed reserve blocks (no-go zones) for petroleum activities in the Northern Territory here

Alternatively, you can provide feedback via the Have Your Say portal here