Building a productive onshore gas industry that protects our unique environment and delivers local jobs
Issued 28 Aug 2018
Update on Implementation
It has been a little over a month since the release of the Implementation Plan for the recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. The six major reform areas are focused on the priority areas of:
- strengthening regulation
- ensuring industry is accountable for its practices
- safeguarding water and the environment
- respecting community and culture
- maximising the benefits and opportunities available to local businesses and communities
- ensuring planning for future development.
Agencies responsible for implementation actions continue to progress program planning to deliver the recommendations as outlined in the Plan. Access the recommendation actions here.
A weeds officer working exclusively on onshore oil and gas has also been appointed within the Weeds Branch of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources based in Katherine. This new resource is coordinating baseline weed assessments across the Beetaloo region, providing guidance on weed management planning requirements and is well placed to immediately respond to potential weed issues that may arise.
Amendments to the Water Act
The Water Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament last week. The amendments would remove the exemption for mining and the petroleum industry from the Water Act, which would in turn require that mining, oil and gas activities be subject to the provisions of the Water Act in line with requirements for any other industry.
In relation to hydraulic fracturing, these would specifically include (but are not limited to) a requirement to apply for and be granted bore work permits to construct bores and groundwater extraction licences to extract groundwater for the purposes of hydraulic fracturing. The Bill also brings penalties under the Water Act in line with contemporary standards.
Information about the recommendations specific to changes to the Water Act can be found in the reform area of Safeguarding Water and the Environment. Access the implementation actions here
Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority (NTEPA) Amendment Bill 2018
The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Amendment Bill 2018 was presented to Parliament by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources last week.
This Bill enables the Minister to require the NT EPA to provide advice on a broader range of issues including petroleum related environmental impacts, and provides for the recruitment of up to two additional EPA board members to bring additional petroleum expertise to the board.
This Bill supports improved regulatory processes associated with the management of onshore oil and gas activities, including hydraulic fracturing. The proposed changes will assist with the delivery of recommendation 14.34 of the Final Report of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory by enabling enhanced expertise and independent advice to be provided to the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources when making future environmental approval decisions regarding onshore oil and gas.
Information about the recommendations specific to the NT EPA Amendment Bill can be found in the reform area of Strengthening Regulation. Access the implementation actions here, Strengthening Regulation