A number of offshore petroleum titles in marine parks have been deemed invalid following a major administrative error that occurred between 2008 and 2015, it has been revealed.
“There are offshore petroleum titles that maintained ‘prior usage rights’ – basically the leases were allowed to remain despite marine parks being declared over the lease sites that have apparently been renewed without environmental approval”, said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
“This opens up a can of worms on all leases over marine protected areas. Have other mistakes been made in the environmental approval process of other leases in marine parks?
“It is concerning that it wasn't even considered that these leases would need environmental approval, it demonstrates a disregard of environmental issues when it comes to the petroleum industry.
“This must shine a spot light on the access and operation of the petroleum industry in marine protected areas. The virtual open access policy starts with the opening of acreage for exploration where there is no environmental right of veto.
“It is disappointing that the Labor party is apparently siding with the Government to shove through legislation that fixes this administrative loophole.
“I will be referring this to the relevant committee for inquiry when the legislation comes up in the Senate”.