Community Bulletin 30

Issued 11 June 2020

Updates on implementation of recommendations from the Final Report of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing are made available on the Hydraulic Fracturing website.

This progress update provides detail on the status of implementation from 1 November 2019 to 30 April 2020. As at 30 April 2020, 60 of the 135 recommendations have been fully completed, 71 commenced and four are yet to commence. Updates to the implementation status of individual recommendations can be found by clicking on the relevant recommendations here.

30 April 2020 implementation progress highlights include:

1. The Strategic Regional and Environmental Baseline Assessment (SREBA)

From 9 December 2019 to 28 February 2020, the draft SREBA Framework was released for public consultation. The draft SREBA Framework PDF (3.1 MB) and Guidance Notes explain the expected roles and responsibilities of parties involved, and the interconnection and design of the six study areas when undertaken anywhere in the NT, in the domains of:

  • Water quality and quantity
  • Aquatic ecosystems
  • Terrestrial ecosystems
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Environmental health
  • Social, Cultural and Economic, inclusive of a Strategic Regional Assessment.

The SREBA public consultation period received 16 written submissions, and verbal feedback during 12 in-person stakeholder briefings. The full SREBA framework is currently being finalised based on feedback received and is expected to be released in July 2020.

Scopes of work for each SREBA domain are currently being drafted and require approval from the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources prior to finalisation. These will be submitted to the Minister individually as each scope of works has varying technical expert input and stakeholder engagement required to finalise.

The opportunity to submit an application to tender for the Social, Cultural and Economic SREBA scope of work is available on the NT Government current opportunities page.

2. Regulation and Assessment

The NT Government has progressed a number of recommendations relating to regulation and assessment, including:

  • Commenced drafting land access provisions within the draft Petroleum Regulations 2020, expected completion July 2020.
  • Passed the Petroleum Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2019, to commence in June 2020 alongside the Environment Protection Act 2019. The amendment to the Act completed five recommendations in full and has enabled the progression of another four recommendations.
  • Written a submission to the Commonwealth Government’s review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), which reiterates the NT Government’s commitment to implementing Recommendation 7.3, to amend the EPBC Act to apply the ‘water trigger’ to onshore shale gas development.

3. Aboriginal Information Program

The Aboriginal Information Program (addressing recommendations 11.5 and 11.6) is being designed to ensure:

Aboriginal people and communities have access to consistent, factual, relevant and easy to understand and culturally appropriate information relating to the onshore petroleum industry.

CSIRO is developing an information package that can be used when engaging with communities who will potentially be affected by the gas industry. Stage one of this work will be delivered mid-2020, with testing, translation into Aboriginal languages and engagement to commence in the second half of 2020.

Independent Oversight of the sixth Hydraulic Fracturing Implementation Progress update

The role of the Independent Overseer is to provide the Chief Minister and NT Government with independent advice on how the implementation of the recommendations from the Inquiry is progressing and being managed. The nature of this role requires the Independent Officer to remain at arms-length from day-to-day decisions and processes relating to implementation.

The Independent Overseer of the implementation of the recommendations, Dr David Ritchie, has provided comment on the progress of implementation outlined in the sixth quarterly update.

Overall, Dr Ritchie found that implementation continues satisfactorily in accordance with the findings of the Inquiry.

In his letter, Dr Ritchie noted the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that travel restrictions may delay progress on some recommendations which require face-to-face engagement.

Read Dr Ritchie’s full advice here PDF (218.7 KB)

To contact the Independent Officer, email Dr David Ritchie at independent.oversight@nt.gov.au

Community and Business Reference Group

The Community and Business Reference Group met for the seventh time on 2 June 2020. The agenda included:

  • Review of the 6 month Progress update
  • Targeted engagement for Stage three of implementation

What’s next?

The NT Government is progressing from stage two to stage three of the Implementation Plan for most Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry recommendations. Stage three recommendations are mostly larger projects that are anticipated to be delivered over the next 18 months to three years. Progress updates will be announced through six-monthly community bulletins as Stage 3 of the Implementation Plan continues.

Want to find out more?

To find out about opportunities to engage in consultation or to keep up to date with status of implementation of each recommendations, sign up for regular updates on the website: www.hydraulicfracturing.nt.gov.au  by email: hydraulic.fracturing@nt.gov.au