On 11 June 2015 the delegate of the Minister for the Environment, entered into an agreement with the Department of Industry and Science and the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to undertake a strategic assessment of the Environmental Management Authorisation Process for Petroleum Activities in Northern Territory coastal waters. The strategic assessment will be undertaken in accordance with section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Why undertake this strategic assessment?
Offshore petroleum activities that occur wholly or partly in Northern Territory coastal waters may be subject to multiple approvals processes, requiring assessment and approval by a number of Commonwealth and Territory regulators.
These may include:
- the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for activities in coastal waters that are likely to impact on matters protected under the EPBC Act;
- NOPSEMA for occupational health and safety (OH&S), structural integrity and environmental management in Commonwealth waters;
- the relevant Northern Territory petroleum regulator for OH&S, structural integrity and environmental management in coastal waters; and
- the relevant Northern Territory environment regulator for other environmental matters in coastal waters.
The strategic assessment will assess the impacts of the environmental management authorisation process, to be outlined in the strategic assessment program (the Program) on matters protected under Part 3 of the EPBC Act.
The strategic assessment will improve the efficiency of environmental assessment and approval processes by removing duplication in decision making, while maintaining high environmental standards.
Strategic assessment agreement
The strategic assessment agreement describes the process to be followed for the strategic assessment, and relevant requirements under national environmental law.
Draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for the strategic assessment are available for public consultation from 17 July 2015 to 14 August 2015.
For information on providing a submission please visit Strategic Assessment.
Following the public comment period, the draft Terms of Reference will be finalised, taking into account the submissions received.
Further information on the strategic assessment can also be found on the Department of Industry and Science website.
For general enquiries about strategic assessments, or the EPBC Act, please contact the Department's Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772.