Red Tape Busting: Increased Certainty to Pastoralists and Petroleum Industry

NT Government

The NT Government has now endorsed the Petroleum Regulations 2020, providing clarity for Territory land owners and the petroleum industry.

The Petroleum Regulations 2020 (The Regulations) will strengthen regulation and ensure industry is accountable for its practices, while assisting pastoralists and petroleum companies to reach land access agreements for petroleum activities, including the required protections.

Key matters outlined in The Regulations include:

  • Requiring statutory land access agreements to be reached for regulated operations and detailed notices to be issued prior to any airborne surveys and limited preliminary activities.
  • Provision of mechanisms to assist parties negotiate a statutory land access agreement including mediation or some other form of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Clarifying minimum protection requirements including the requirement for all statutory land access agreements to contain standard 24 minimum protections specified in the Inquiry which include requirements such as closing gates, ensuring all petroleum company employees receive induction training, minimising disturbance to livestock, giving notice to landholders and managing weeds.

The Regulations were drafted in-line with the Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing and with extensive stakeholder consultation including pastoral lease holders, petroleum companies as well as peak industry bodies such as The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association and the NT Cattleman’s Association.

Following this consultation, the Petroleum Regulations 2020 will deliver clarity for both landholders and the petroleum industry, bringing to fruition 62 of the Hydraulic Fracturing inquiry’s 135 recommendations.

The Petroleum Regulations 2020 will commence from 1 January 2021.

As noted by Nicole Manison, Minister for Mining and Industry

“The Northern Territory Government is building a productive onshore petroleum industry that protects our unique environment and delivers local jobs and it is integral to ensure a robust and trusted regulatory framework is in place.”

“Strengthening regulation will ensure industry is accountable for its practices, water and the environment is safeguarded, community and culture is respected, the benefits and opportunities available to local businesses and communities is maximised, and to ensure planning for future.”

“Jobs are critical to Territorians, and a healthy exploration sector can play a key role in supporting our economy.”

As noted by Ashley Manicaros, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association

“The Northern Territory will have the strongest land access regulations in the country and the NTCA thanks the efforts of the Northern Territory Government – Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison and former Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby.”

“This completes the groundwork of previous Presidents and CEOs. The pastoral sector and the pastoral estate is fundamental to the Territory’s economic future and these regulations will ensure the $1.2 billion cattle industry can continue to operate and if need be, ensure there is compensation for the disruption to this well-established commodity.”

As noted by Keld Knudsen, APPEA Director Northern Territory

“These new regulations – developed in consultation with industry – will help to improve certainty for the Territory’s oil and gas sector and pastoralists.”

“Building and maintaining positive, mutually-beneficial relationships between the industry and other users of the land is essential, especially to ensure the long-term economic benefits of responsible resource development.”

“Evidence shows everyone benefits when explorers and pastoralists proactively engage about their activities, identify issues and work together to achieve sustainable solutions.”

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