Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Cross-boundary Greenhouse Gas Titles and Other Measures) Bill 2019, Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I thank senators for their contributions to this debate, which ranged far and wide in relation to a relatively narrow package of amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006. The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Cross-boundary Greenhouse Gas Titles and Other Measures) Bill 2019 enables the title administration and regulation of a greenhouse gas storage formation straddling state and Commonwealth jurisdictions. This will facilitate, for example, the CarbonNet proposed project storage site, which is investigating the feasibility of a commercial-scale multiuser carbon capture and storage network in Gippsland, Victoria. This, in turn, is a crucial element of support for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Pilot Project, which has attracted Commonwealth government, Victorian government and international partners and which relies on suitable CCS as part of its trial around effective hydrogen generation in that space.
The package also contains a measure to strengthen and clarify the monitoring, inspection and enforcement powers of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, NOPSEMA, within state and Northern Territory jurisdictions in the unlikely event of an oil pollution emergency originating in Commonwealth waters. The amendments will enable NOPSEMA to monitor whether a titleholder is in compliance with its oil spill response obligations and take enforcement action in the event of noncompliance. They also extend the operation of polluter-pays obligations and the application of significant incident directions to areas of state and Northern Territory jurisdiction.
Acknowledging the recommendation made by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee's report on this bill, the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources has advised that APPEA was consulted on an exposure draft of the bill and they raised related or similar concerns at the time. In their response, the department undertook to share and discuss those concerns with NOPSEMA to ensure that the matters were canvassed in the relevant guidance and protocols as appropriate. The APPEA's submission to the Senate committee will also be given due consideration during the development of the guidance and protocols that will follow these legislative changes. The government acknowledges the concerns expressed by APPEA but considers that the matters are more appropriately dealt with in those guidance terms rather than in legislation. The guidance and protocols will assist to ensure clarity and procedural certainty in the unlikely event that the provisions need to be activated.
I thank senators for their contributions to the debate and commend the bill, with those specific amendments to it, to the chamber.