Offshore environment plans to be made public

The Federal Government says all environment plans for offshore oil and gas activities will be open for public comment.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the new requirements were designed to increase consultation and transparency in offshore activities.

“The public will have a 30-day comment period to give feedback on the environmental management of proposed seismic and exploration drilling activities, providing a new level of accountability,” he said.

“Environment plans for all offshore activities will be published when they are submitted to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), before they are assessed.

“If the plan is accepted by NOPSEMA, it will be published, along with an explanation of how public comments have been taken into account, enabling the community to see how their concerns have been addressed.”

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) supported the announcement, saying it was important for the oil and gas industry to build trust with the Australian public.

“Community support for the oil and gas industry relies on public confidence in the industry’s operating standards and the manner in which it is regulated,” said APPEA Director Environment, Health and Safety Jason Medd.

“Both will be more clearly evidenced by greater transparency.

“The industry will continue to work with local stakeholders and the wider community to build understanding of the benefits and impacts of offshore petroleum activity to all Australians.”

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