Release of the first Hydraulic Fracturing Implementation Progress Report and Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group update

Issued 06 Nov 2018

The Community and Business Reference Group (Reference Group) held its second meeting in Darwin on 23 October 2018 to discuss the progress of implementing the recommendations from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory, and to provide input into the approach for delivering the framework for the Strategic Regional Environmental Baseline Assessments (SREBAs).

Representatives from CSIRO and the Northern Territory Government gave a presentation relating to the approach to define framework for the SREBAs and the Reference Group participated in these discussions and provided feedback, noting that Reference Group member Tom Stockwell is the Reference Group representative on the SREBA Project Advisory Committee.

The Reference Group also considered the quarterly progress report outlining the status of implementing the recommendations as set out in the Implementation Plan. In developing the Implementation Plan each recommendation was grouped into one of six reform areas and grouped into three delivery timeframes:

  • Stage One – Planning, completed at the end of July 2018  
  • Stage Two – Preparing for exploration, with a target completion date of December 2018 
  • Stage Three – Exploration and Preparing for Production, with a target completion of December 2021

The quarterly update report provides a summary of implementation progress as at the end of September 2018, outlined under the six reform areas of:

  • Strengthening Regulation 
  • Ensuring Accountable Industry Practice 
  • Safeguarding Water and the Environment 
  • Respecting Community and Culture 
  • Maximising regional benefits and local opportunities 
  • Planning for Industry

Finally, the Reference Group were presented with an update on the current status of the environmental regulatory arrangements, and noted that:

  • the transfer of the powers to approve activities relating to oil and gas under environmental management plans will be transferred from the Minister for Primary Industry and Resources to the Minister for Environment 
  • the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will have additional members and broader scope to facilitate advice on Environment Management Plans (EMPs) being provided to the Minster 
  • that amendments to the Water Act were introduced to Parliament in August and further amendments are planned for November to ensure that the onshore gas industry activities relating to water are regulated appropriately under the Water Act with stringent controls in place.

The Community and Business Reference Group are scheduled to meet again on 26 February 2019.

Read the latest Communique from the second Community Business Reference Group Meeting here

Read the quarterly update progress report here

Read the Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group Terms of Reference here