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Streamlined offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas approvals - a one-stop shop to build productivity

28 February 2014

Joint media release with the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP

A new streamlined approach for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas activity environmental approvals comes into effect today, reducing regulatory burden and boosting business productivity while maintaining high environmental standards.

The streamlined approach will lead to savings for industry and environmental groups worth an estimated $120 million per year.

Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane and Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt named the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) as the sole assessor for offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas activities in Commonwealth waters.

Mr Macfarlane said the one-stop shop approvals process would remove unnecessary duplication between two sets of laws, which had discouraged investment by adding costly layers of red tape for businesses trying to develop offshore projects.

“The environmental impacts of offshore activities were regulated under both the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“NOPSEMA will now be the single point of contact for titleholders seeking regulatory approval, which means faster approvals and no duplication.

“NOPSEMA’s objective-based approach provides flexibility, promotes innovation and best practice environmental management and will lead to improved environmental outcomes in the future.”

Mr Hunt said the decision to streamline the process was made following a formal and thorough Strategic Assessment under the EPBC Act, including nationwide public consultation with key stakeholders.

“The one-stop shop will maintain strong environmental safeguards and high environmental standards through a more streamlined process. There is no need to have two approvals processes when one can provide the same level of environmental protection,” Mr Hunt said.

“The NOPSEMA process that I have endorsed will include strict safeguards for the prevention of offshore activities within the boundaries of all World Heritage areas, including the Great Barrier Reef.”

Media Contacts: Minister Macfarlane’s office: 02 6277 7070
                              Minister Hunt’s office:  02 6277 7920