The recently introduced OPGGS Bills Package 2019 comprises a merged product of four previously introduced (and lapsed) amendment bills into 2 amendment bills:
- the previous OPGGS Miscellaneous Amendments Bill and OPGGS Levies Amendment Bill (introduced Autumn 2018 on 28 March) (the first set of bills); and
- the previous OPGGS Regulations References Amendment Bill and OPGGS Regulations References Regulatory Levies Amendment Bill (introduced Spring 2018 on 5 December) (the second set of bills).
The first set of bills were referred to 3 committees: The Senate Standing Committee on Economics; The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills. All committee reports raised concerns in relation to the Autumn 2018 OPGGS Amendment Bill. Ministerial responses were sent to the Scrutiny of Bills and Human Rights committees on 23 May 2018 and these responses accepted by both committees. Consequently an addendum was prepared to the EM in response to the comments from the Scrutiny of Bills Committee – this content included in the current package.
While the second set of bills were not referred to committee, they were purely technical amendments only and contained no policy measures.
Changes to the OPGGS Bills Package 2019
The only changes to OPGGS Bills Package 2019 were to include a planned government amendment (to place restrictions on the use of enforceable undertakings by NOPSEMA – in response to concerns raised by some stakeholders directly with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, as well as the Senate Standing Committee on Economics), as well as add an additional commencement and alternate amendments to address clashes that arose with the Timor Sea Maritime Boundaries Treaty Consequential Amendments Bill 2019, but that the provisions otherwise did not do anything additional.
As a result of these recent inquiries, and the fact that the bills are legislatively substantially the same, the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport will not be undertaking an inquiry into these bills. It will table a short report to the Senate setting out its reasons for this decision.