Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group tenure extended by Chief Minister

Issued 31 May 2019

The Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group (Reference Group) met in Darwin last week to consider the suite of regulatory reforms and provide feedback on the overall progress to date of the implementation of recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.

Initially appointed for a period of 12 months, the Reference Group performs a vital role in providing a platform through which key stakeholders can communicate their views about the implementation framework and its subsequent execution directly to the Government.

Meeting four times a year, the 17 member Reference Group includes representatives from the community, environmental groups, local business, the gas industry, land councils and local government.

Acknowledging the important role the Reference Group plays in ensuring implementation plan progress aligns with community and industry expectations, the Chief Minister has extended the term of the Reference Group for a further 12 months, inviting all members to continue in their current capacity as a Member until June 2020. The next meeting will be held in August 2019.

A number of speakers gave presentations to the group, including:

  • The Independent Officer overseeing implementation of the recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing, provided his assessment of the progress of the Implementation Plan, acknowledging the significant regulatory reform achieved to date, including transfer of regulatory responsibility under the Petroleum Act 1984 from the Minister of Resources to the Minister of the Environment;
  • Department of Primary Industry and Resources provided an update on the implementation of Recommendation 14.4, Declared Reserved blocks under the Petroleum Act 1984. The Consultation Paper: Proposed reserved blocks (no-go zones) for petroleum activities in the Northern Territory may be accessed here. Have your say on proposed no go zones here
  • Department of Environment and Energy (Commonwealth Government) discussed the Commonwealth approach to environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

A communique from the meeting has been published and will be available here PDF (1.6 MB)

The chair of the CBRG can be contacted via email at Cbreference.group@nt.gov.au

Read Dr Ritchie’s letter to the Chief Minister on implementation progress here PDF (1.9 MB)