On 28 June 2018, the Senate referred the provisions of the Offshore
Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill
2018; and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies)
Amendment Bill 2018 to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and
report by 13 August 2018.
As the bills are directly related to one another, both bills are to be dealt
with together in this inquiry report.
In essence, the introduction of these bills is designed to update and
make amendments to Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006
and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies)
On the 28 March 2018, the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP, Minister for Regional
Development, Territories and Local Government, gave his second reading speech
for both bills. Primarily, the Minister noted that the bills are part of the
government's ongoing commitment to the maintenance and continued improvement of
a strong and effective regulatory framework for offshore petroleum and
greenhouse gas storage, and to ensuring the regime's currency and alignment
with international best practice. In regards to the Offshore Petroleum and
Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018, Dr
McVeigh noted that the bill contains important measures that make amendments to
the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006, specifically
The bill will transfer regulatory oversight for offshore
greenhouse gas storage environmental management and well operations from the
responsible Commonwealth minister to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and
Environmental Management Authority, or NOPSEMA. Currently, NOPSEMA is the
regulator for offshore petroleum environmental management and well operations.
The reason for the division of petroleum and greenhouse gas responsibilities is
largely historical. NOPSEMA did not have any environmental management functions
in 2008, when the greenhouse gas regulatory provisions were introduced into the
act. With the potential for an increase in greenhouse gas storage activities in
future, there is a renewed focus on the adequacy of regulatory arrangements.
Further, Dr McVeigh noted that as a consequence of the related
amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006
(above) the Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2018 is also
being introduced to make necessary amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and
Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003:
This bill amends the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas
Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003 as a consequence of related amendments
to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 to
transfer regulatory oversight for offshore greenhouse-gas-storage-well
operations from the responsible Commonwealth minister to the National Offshore
Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, or NOPSEMA.
NOPSEMA operates on a fully cost recovered basis through
levies and fees payable by the offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage
industries. This includes well related levies imposed in relation to petroleum
titles. To ensure NOPSEMA can also recover the cost of its oversight of well
operations under greenhouse gas titles, this bill will amend the levies act to
extend the application of the well related levies to greenhouse gas wells.
This bill also amends the levies act as a consequence of
amendments made to well related regulations under the OPGGS Act which commenced
on 1 January 2016.
Conduct of the Inquiry
Submissions to the inquiry closed on 25 July 2018. The committee
received five submissions and no public hearings were held. The submissions
are listed in Appendix 1 of this report.
Scope and structure of the report
The report consists of three chapters:
Chapter 1 (this chapter) provides an overview of the inquiry;
Chapter 2 provides a background to the bills and a summary of the
bills' main provisions; and
Chapter 3 details the views on the bills as received in
submissions to the inquiry as well as the committee's views and
The committee thanks all submitters and witnesses who provided evidence
to the inquiry.
Overview of the bills
Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas
Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2018
The explanatory memorandum (EM) to the bill states that the purpose of
the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Amendment (Miscellaneous
Amendments) Bill 2018 (the MA bill) is to amend the Offshore Petroleum and
Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the OPGGS Act) to:
transfer regulatory responsibility for offshore greenhouse gas
wells and environmental management from the responsible Commonwealth Minister
(the Minister) to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental
Management Authority (NOPSEMA);
strengthen and clarify the powers of NOPSEMA inspectors to
monitor and enforce compliance by regulated entities with their obligations
under the OPGGS Act and associated regulations;
ensure valid designation of certain areas as 'frontier areas' for
the purposes of the Designated Frontier Area tax incentive; and
make minor policy and technical amendments to improve the
operation of the OPGGS Act.
Schedules to the MA bill
The bill consists of 17 schedules:
Schedule 1—Greenhouse gas storage
Schedule 2—Protection of technical information
Schedule 3—Directions given by the responsible Commonwealth
Schedule 4—Compliance powers
Schedule 5—Variation of petroleum access authority
Schedule 6—Directions by the Titles Administrator
Schedule 7—Listed NOPSEMA laws
Schedule 8—Fees payable to the Titles Administrator on behalf of
Schedule 9—Functions and powers of NOPSEMA
Schedule 11—Recovery of costs and expenses
Schedule 13—Boundary changes
Schedule 14—Fixed term petroleum production licences
Schedule 15—Additional NOPSEMA inspection powers relating to well
Schedule 16—Civil penalties, enforceable undertakings,
infringement notices, injunctions
Schedule 17—Designated frontier areas
Summary of Amendments
The following section discusses those amendments that are highlighted in
the introduction of the EM as the main elements of the MA bill. This is then followed
by specifics from schedules 1, 4, 15 and 16 also highlighted in the bill's EM.
The other schedules make minor policy and technical amendments to the OPGGS Act.
regulatory functions and powers in relation to greenhouse gas storage operations
The amendments in the MA bill, together with amendments to the Offshore
Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009 (the
Environment Regulations) and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 (the Wells
Regulations), will make NOPSEMA the regulator for offshore greenhouse gas well
operations and environmental management of greenhouse gas storage activities,
in addition to its existing functions as the regulator of offshore petroleum
well operations and environmental management of offshore petroleum activities.
Hitherto, the Minister was the regulator for greenhouse gas wells and
With the relative increase in greenhouse gas storage, the government,
according to the bill's EM, has renewed its focus on the adequacy of greenhouse
gas storage regulations. NOPSEMA has also developed substantial expertise in
the regulation of offshore environmental management and well operations through
its responsibility for the regulation of offshore petroleum activities.
To ensure an experienced and independent regulator has oversight of
offshore greenhouse gas storage activities, it is appropriate, according to the
EM, to transfer regulatory oversight for offshore greenhouse gas wells and
environmental management from the Minister to NOPSEMA.
The Minister will retain responsibility for major resources related
decisions concerning: granting greenhouse titles; imposing title conditions;
the cancellation of titles; and core decisions about resource management and
clarify powers of NOPSEMA inspectors
The bill strengthens and clarifies the powers of NOPSEMA inspectors to
monitor and enforce compliance under the OPGGS Act and associated regulations.
This change is in response to issues that NOPSEMA has identified in undertaking
its compliance monitoring functions. According to the EM, it is important that
NOPSEMA has appropriate powers to undertake this function, given the potential
risks associated with non-compliance in a high-hazard industry.
of certain areas as 'frontier areas'
The MA bill amends the OPGGS Act to retrospectively designate four
areas, released as part of the 2005 Offshore Petroleum Exploration Acreage
Release as 'frontier areas' for the purposes of the Designated Frontier Area
tax incentive (DFA). As part of the scheme, which was in place between 2004 and
2009, the Resources Minister was able, under the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
Assessment Act 1987 (the PRRTA Act), to allocate up to 20 per cent of each
year's acreage release areas as frontier areas. Where an exploration permit was
granted over a 'frontier area', the permit holder could claim up to 150 per
cent of expenditure on particular exploration activities conducted in the
permit area as a deduction for the purposes of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
Under the PRRTA Act, the Resources Minister was required to designate
areas in writing to include them within the DFA. However, a recently discovered
administrative oversight shows this requirement was not met for the 2005
acreage release¾four exploration
permits that were granted were not validly designated as 'frontier areas'. To
avoid any doubt regarding validity of claims under the tax incentive scheme,
the amendments will retrospectively designate the areas as DFAs. This will,
according to the EM, remove any doubt about the entitlement of the relevant
titleholders to the uplifted PRRT deductions.
The EM to the MA bill, while convoluted, provides explanations for
specific key elements in certain schedules of the bill which are described and
Transfer of greenhouse gas storage regulatory functions and powers
Schedule 1 of the MA bill amends to OPGGS Act to support the transfer of
regulatory functions and powers for offshore greenhouse gas storage
environmental management and wells to NOPSEMA.
The amendments extend all of the existing inspectorate functions and
powers of NOPSEMA inspectors under Parts 2 and 3 of the Regulatory Powers
(Standard Provisions) Act 2014 (the Regulatory Powers Act) and in schedule
2A to the OPGGS Act to offshore greenhouse gas storage operations. The EM notes
that this will enable NOPSEMA inspectors to monitor and investigate compliance
by greenhouse gas titleholders with their obligations under the OPGGS Act and
regulations. These amendments, according to the EM, represent an extension of
existing inspectorate functions and powers relating to offshore petroleum
According to the EM, in all cases the inspection powers are and will
continue to be limited by purpose; namely the purpose of determining whether
titleholders are complying with their obligations under the OPGGS Act and
associated regulations. The bill states that these powers are necessary to
enable NOPSEMA to monitor and investigate regulatory compliance. In the context
of a high-hazard industry, it is particularly important, according to the EM,
to ensure the regulator has sufficient powers to ensure regulations are being
complied with as non-compliance may potentially have serious consequences.
NOPSEMA's existing inspection powers and functions for petroleum
activities were designed to ensure these powers are available only to the
extent that those matters relate to compliance or non-compliance of a person
with their obligations under the OPGGS Act and associated regulations. Any
limitation of the right to privacy in extending the existing powers and
functions to inspections relating to greenhouse gas storage obligations is,
according to the EM, to meet a legitimate objective, and is reasonable,
necessary and proportionate to meeting that objective.
Further, when an inspection occurs using the monitoring or investigation
powers in the Regulatory Powers Act, the provisions in that Act will protect
against arbitrary abuses of power and arbitrary limitations on the right to
Similarly, right to privacy protections are in place for the powers in
the OPGGS Act's schedule 2A. The powers under which NOPSEMA inspectors may
enter premises without warrant specifically exclude residential premises,
including the expanded categories of regulated business premises. Therefore,
the risk that such entry would infringe a person's right to protection against
arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy, family, home or
correspondence is, according to the EM, extremely low. In addition to these
safeguards, the use or disclosure of personal information is subject to the Privacy
Act 1988 (the Privacy Act).
The EM argues that any limitation of the right to privacy, through the
extension of existing functions and powers to greenhouse gas storage operations
as they already apply to offshore petroleum activities, is considered reasonable,
necessary and proportionate.
Schedule 1 also includes amendments to Part 6.11 of the OPGGS Act that
will ensure parties responsible for the Act's administration and associated
regulations have the ability to share information relating to offshore
greenhouse gas storage operations with each other, and with other relevant
Commonwealth, State and Northern Territory government agencies in circumstances
where it is appropriate in order to enable those bodies to adequately discharge
their legislative functions and powers.
The MA bill notes that the ability to share information will be
discretionary. The amendments in schedule 1 of the bill provide that
information which can be shared may include personal information. While this
constitutes an interference with privacy, the use or disclosure of any personal
information is also subject to the Privacy Act. The EM states that a person in
possession of the information will be able to consider the type of information
to be shared and the rationale for sharing it before making a decision to share
that information. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NOPSEMA will also have
the ability to place conditions on the sharing of information with other
Commonwealth, State or Northern Territory government agencies, such as
conditions restricting further disclosure. A provision has been included to
require parties to de-identify personal information wherever possible. The
sharing of information provision, as it relates to personal information, is not
to be applied retrospectively.
According to the EM, the information sharing provisions are not
arbitrary and are considered reasonable, necessary and proportionate in the
circumstances and, according to the EM, lawful.
definition of regulated business premises
Schedule 1 of the MA bill also contains amendments to strengthen and
clarify the powers of NOPSEMA inspectors to determine whether regulated
entities are compliant with their obligations. This includes expanding the
categories of places that NOPSEMA inspectors may enter, without a warrant, for
the purposes of conducting a monitoring inspection under schedule 2A or
schedule 3 to the OPGGS Act. Expansions to the categories of places that
NOPSEMA inspectors may enter without a warrant will apply to premises used in
connection with either offshore petroleum operations or greenhouse gas storage
Extensions to the definition of regulated business premises in schedules
2A and 3 are, according to the EM, necessary as the current scope of regulated
business premises is proving to be inadequate in practice. For example, a
company that is a titleholder may not be the entity that makes decisions about
the operations being carried out under the authority of that title. Oil spill
response equipment could also likely to be stored at premises of a contractor
of a titleholder, and it is vital, according to the EM, that NOPSEMA can
readily ensure titleholders are compliant with their obligations.
In the course of an environmental or OHS inspection, an inspector may
observe things relating to persons in their capacity as private individuals. A
NOPSEMA inspector would only be able to inquire into personal matters relating
to an individual to the extent that those matters relate to compliance or non-compliance
with their obligations under the OPGGS Act and associated regulations. Any
limitation of the right to privacy is, according to the EM, to meet a
legitimate objective, and is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to meeting
Schedule 4 of the MA bill includes amendments to enable a NOPSEMA
inspector to take possession of a document, or a thing, produced by a person
under existing schedules and clauses of the OPGGS Act, and retain it for as
long as reasonably necessary.
The existing subclauses enable a NOPSEMA inspector to require a person
to produce information if the inspector is satisfied on reasonable grounds that
the person is capable of producing information that is reasonably connected
with the conduct of an environmental or OHS inspection. The owner and the
person with overall control at the relevant premises will be notified of the
taking of possession of that item or information and the reasons for it. The
power to take possession of information and items is limited to the purpose of
determining whether obligations of persons under the relevant laws and
regulations are being complied with.
However, once information or items are produced, NOPSEMA inspectors do
not currently have the power to take possession of and retain them for review.
Such powers, according to the EM, are necessary to enable NOPSEMA to monitor
and investigate compliance by persons (generally oil companies) with their
obligations under the OPGGS Act and regulations. In the context of a
high-hazard industry where compliance requires a major financial investment,
the regulator must have sufficient powers to determine whether regulatory
obligations are being complied with. According to the EM, impeding NOPSEMA's
ability to retain documents or things produced in the course of an
environmental or OHS inspection would not be in the public interest given the
nature of the potential harm non-compliance with the OPGGS Act could cause.
The amendments in schedule 4 provide for the documents or items to only
be held for as long as reasonably necessary, and the person otherwise entitled
to possession of the document would be provided with a certified true copy,
which has the same status as the original in all courts and tribunals. Until
that copy is provided, the person will have reasonable access to the original
document. Reasonable access to an item will also be provided as long as
NOPSEMA remains in possession of that item.
Additional inspection powers relating to well integrity laws
Schedule 15 of the MA bill introduces a new schedule 2B to the OPGGS
Act, which will enable NOPSEMA inspectors to undertake inspections without a
warrant to monitor compliance by offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas
titleholders with well integrity-related obligations under the OPGGS Act and
regulations. The new schedule includes inspections powers that are equivalent
to those in the existing OPGGS Act's schedule 2A (environmental management
inspections) and schedule 3 (OHS inspections).
Non-compliance by a person with well integrity-related obligations may
increase the risks to health or safety of persons and the environment from
offshore operations, which may have potentially serious consequences.
As accessing offshore facilities can be difficult, the risks associated
with offshore activities and the frequent changes to operational decisions, the
requirement to obtain a warrant may impede NOPSEMA's ability to conduct
inspections of well activities at the appropriate time. Delays involved in obtaining
a warrant, where the well activity has been brought forward for operational
reasons, could mean the well activity is completed and the rig has departed
before the NOPSEMA inspector has authority to conduct the inspection. This,
according to the EM, could impede NOPSEMA's ability to respond quickly in an
Civil penalties and enforceable undertakings
Schedule 16 amends the OPGGS Act to enable the Minister, the National
Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (the Titles Administrator) and the CEO
of NOPSEMA to accept and enforce undertakings in relation to compliance with
provisions of the OPGGS Act and regulations.
If the Minister, the Titles Administrator or the CEO of NOPSEMA, accept
an undertaking, they will be required to publish the undertaking. This
requirement, the EM notes, is considered important in the context of government
To ensure the right to privacy is safeguarded, if an undertaking
contains personal information within the meaning of the Privacy Act, the
Minister, the Titles Administrator or the CEO of NOPSEMA (as applicable) is
required to take reasonable steps to ensure the information is de-identified
before the undertaking is published.
The EM highlights a review undertaken by the Australian Government of
Commonwealth legislation applicable to offshore petroleum activities and the
marine environment (the Legislative Review), in the wake of the incident at the
Montara Wellhead Platform in August 2009, which concluded that the enforcement
mechanisms, sanctions and penalties available under the OPGGS Act at the time
were insufficient to provide an effective and meaningful deterrent against
The Legislative Review considered strong evidence that regulators are
best able to secure compliance when they have a range of graduated sanctions
that can be imposed, depending upon the severity of the misconduct or breach of
statutory requirements. As such, the introduction of enforceable undertakings
into the OPGGS Act is designed to ensure the regulator has the capacity to
apply an appropriate and proportionate response to incidents of non-compliance
with the OPGGS Act and regulations, in order to encourage improved compliance
outcomes. These amendments will also complement the existing alternative
enforcement tools that were introduced in amendments to the OPGGS Act made in
2013, including civil penalties, infringement notices and injunctions.
The amendments trigger the application of the standard provisions in
Part 6 of the Regulatory Powers Act. This Part creates a framework for
accepting and enforcing undertakings relating to compliance with provisions,
where another Act makes the provision enforceable under that Part. An
undertaking accepted by a regulator may be enforced in a court, which may make
an order directing compliance, an order requiring any financial benefit from
the failure to comply to be surrendered, and/or an order for damages. Failure
to comply with an enforceable undertaking would also be an offence under the
Although the regulators currently have access to a range of enforcement
tools, enforceable undertakings, the EM states, offer a unique benefit. While
existing regulatory tools can require a duty holder to cease an activity or
reach a minimum standard of compliance, enforceable undertakings can go beyond
this to effect meaningful changes to overall compliance culture. Enforceable
undertakings allow the regulator to secure more timely and cost-effective
outcomes that would not be achievable by a prosecution. Further, enforceable
undertakings remove the need for the regulator to pay the potentially sizeable
costs associated with prosecution in a court. The regulator can also tailor the
enforcement response to individual circumstances, taking specific titleholder
and broader industry considerations into account.
Right to be
presumed innocent until proven guilty
Article 14(2) of the International Convention on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) provides that everyone charged with a criminal offence shall
have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law.
The protections in Article 14(2) only apply in criminal proceedings. Generally,
consistency with the presumption of innocence requires the prosecution to prove
each element of a criminal offence beyond reasonable doubt. Offence provisions
which place an evidential or legal burden on the defendant and no-fault
offences, such as strict and absolute liability offences which allow for the
imposition of criminal liability without the need to prove fault, will engage
the presumption of innocence. This is because a defendant's failure to
discharge the burden or the lack of a burden altogether may permit their
conviction despite reasonable doubt as to their guilt.
A number of schedules in the MA bill state that failure to comply with
certain sections of the bill will result in offences of strict liability or
sometimes referred to as absolute liability.
Schedule 1 of the MA bill notes that, a failure to comply with the new
sections and subsections in schedule 1, will be offences of strict liability.
Further, the EM notes, amendments in schedule 1 will ensure the existing strict
liability offence in clause 12 of schedule 2A will apply to a notice given
during an inspection in relation to greenhouse gas environmental management
obligations, as well as to existing petroleum environmental management
The OPGGS Act contains a range of strict liability offences for
circumstances where fault may be difficult to prove due to the remote and
complex nature of offshore operations and the prevalence of multiple
titleholder arrangements. In terms of the presumption of innocence as afforded
to individuals, the reality is that investigations and prosecutions are
conducted largely, if not solely, in relation to companies¾not individuals. Indeed, prosecutions to
date have only been in relation to companies. According to the EM, it is not
anticipated that this approach will change given the industry's nature and the
100 penalty units
are considered appropriate for a failure to comply with a direction given by
NOPSEMA. This is higher than the preference stated in A Guide To Framing Commonwealth
Offences, Infringement Notices and Enforcement Powers, September 2011 (the
Guide) for a maximum 60 penalty units for offences of strict liability. However,
the EM notes that offshore resources activities require a very high level of
expenditure and a smaller penalty would, according to the EM, be an ineffective
deterrent. Penalties for other new or extended offences of strict liability are
less than 60 penalty units, consistent with the Guide's preference.
Commencement of the bill will be on Royal Assent.
The EM states that the MA bill is expected to have no financial impact.
Amendments to the Regulatory Levies Act and the Offshore Petroleum and
Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Regulations 2004 will ensure NOPSEMA
is fully cost-recovered for its new regulatory functions in relation to
greenhouse gas wells and environmental management.
The amendments retrospectively designating certain areas as DFAs for the
purposes of the tax incentive are not expected to have any financial impacts.
Compatibility with Human Rights
According to the EM, the MA bill is compatible with the human rights and
freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in
section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.
Human Rights implications
Schedules 1, 4, 12, 15 and 16 to the MA bill engage with rights
protected under the ICCPR. The EM stated that the provisions contained in those
schedules are compatible with human rights as, to the extent that they limit
human rights or freedoms, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and
proportionate to the legitimate objectives that the provisions aim to achieve.
The remainder of the bill's amendments are, according to the EM,
mechanical or technical in nature and do not abridge or otherwise engage with
applicable human rights or freedoms.
Right to privacy and reputation
Article 17 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrary or unlawful interference
with an individual's privacy, family, home or correspondence, and protects a
person's honour and reputation from unlawful attacks. This right may be subject
to permissible limitations where those limitations are provided by law and are
non-arbitrary. In order for limitations not to be arbitrary, they must be aimed
at a legitimate objective and be reasonable, necessary and proportionate to
Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse
Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2018
The purpose of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Regulatory Levies) Amendment Bill 2018 (the RL bill) is to amend the Offshore
Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Regulatory Levies) Act 2003 (the
Levies Act) to:
impose a well investigation levy, an annual well levy and a well
activity levy in relation to greenhouse gas wells;
revise provisions which impose a well activity levy, as a
consequence of amendments to Part 5 of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse
Gas Storage (Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 (the
revise provisions which impose a safety investigation levy and
well investigation levy as a consequence of previous amendments to the Offshore
Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (the OPGGS Act); and
remove certain spent provisions.
Schedules to the RL bill
The bill consists of five schedules:
Schedule 1—Well activity levy
Schedule 2—Greenhouse gas storage
Schedule 4—Abandoned wells
Schedule 5—Removal of spent provisions
Summary of Amendments
The following section discusses amendments that are specifically
highlighted in the introduction of the EM as the main impact of the RL bill.
Imposition of levies in relation to
greenhouse gas wells
The EM notes that NOPSEMA's operations are fully cost-recovered by way
of fees and levies imposed on the offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage
industries. As NOPSEMA is to be the regulator for greenhouse gas wells,
NOPSEMA will need to recover its costs in undertaking greenhouse gas
well-related regulatory functions to avoid any funding shortfalls. These
levies are currently only imposed in relation to petroleum wells, as NOPSEMA is
currently the regulator of offshore petroleum well operations.
Amendments to the Wells Regulations commenced on 1 January 2016, which
implemented the outcomes of a review of those Regulations. These amendments
established a regime under which a single well operations management plan
(WOMP) covers all stages of the life of a well, and is required to be revised
every five years. The amendments also removed the requirement for a titleholder
to apply to NOPSEMA for approval to commence well activities.
Currently, under the Levies Act, a well activity levy is imposed on applications
for acceptance of a new WOMP and on applications for approval to commence well
activities. As a consequence of the amendments to the Wells Regulations, this
Bill amends the Levies Act to also impose a well activity levy on submission of
a five-yearly revision of a WOMP, and to remove the levy imposed on
applications for approval to commence well activities.
Previous changes to legislation and regulations have affected NOPSEMA's
revenue. The Annual Report noted that:
Changes to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage
(Resource Management and Administration) Regulations 2011 generated an
additional $1.5 million of revenue, primarily due to a significant increase in
WOMP submissions before the December 2017 deadline.
investigation levy and well investigation levy
Under the Levies Act's section 5, a safety investigation levy is imposed
if a NOPSEMA inspector conducts an inspection in relation to a notifiable
accident or occurrence, and the costs and expenses reasonably incurred by
NOPSEMA in relation to the inspection exceed $30 000. Similarly, under
section 9, a well investigation levy is imposed if NOPSEMA conducts an
inspection concerning a contravention, or possible contravention, of the OPGGS
Act and the costs and expenses reasonably incurred by NOPSEMA in relation to
the inspection exceed $30 000.
At the time when the provisions relating to these levies were drafted,
the term 'inspection' was used to refer to either a monitoring inspection or an
investigation into a possible contravention, which were both carried out under schedule
3 to the OPGGS Act. Investigations into possible contraventions are now
conducted under Part 3 of the Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Act
2014 (the Regulatory Powers Act), as it is applied by the Levies Act. The
Bill amends the Levies Act to clarify that it is an investigation under Part 3
of the Regulatory Powers Act in relation to which a safety investigation levy
or well investigation levy may be imposed.
Removal of spent provisions
Certain transitional provisions that were inserted into the Levies Act
by the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Regulatory Levies
Legislation Amendment (2011 Measures No. 1) Act 2011 have now fulfilled
their intended function. The EM noted that these provisions are fully spent and
will be repealed by the Bill.
Commencement will be on Royal Assent.
The bill, according to the EM, is expected to have no financial impact.
The amendments will ensure that NOPSEMA is fully cost-recovered for its
Compatibility with Human Rights
As required under the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011,
the government has assessed the bill's compatibility with the human rights and
freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in
section 3 of that Act. The government considers that all schedules in the bill
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page