Australian Greens marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says legislation to establish a national regulator for the offshore petroleum industry is an important step towards improving regulation of the oil and gas sector.
“The establishment of a single regulator is a significant move, as recommended by the Montara Commission of Inquiry,” Senator Siewert said today.
“There is some anxiety about a single authority having responsibility for regulation of the industry as well as environmental management. That means that there needs to be a high degree of accountability and transparency for this agency.
“The effectiveness of a national regulator will ultimately be dictated by the way it operates and the funding allocated to it. We will now examine this legislation with a view to making it as strong as possible.
“The regulator must be able to employ and retain highly trained workers, which means competing with high paying jobs in the resource sector.
“It must also be equipped to conduct their operations and audit compliance to the highest levels of quality and consistency.
“A key finding of the Montara Inquiry was that in addition to PTTEP Australasia failure to meet their obligations, the NT Government and the department also failed enforce regulations.
“The national regulator must be given the chance to do its job.
“While I welcome properly resourced moves to simplify and streamline regulation, I remain aware of the need to match good regulation with a comprehensive set of marine protected areas around Australia. We can never guarantee 100 per cent that a spill will not happen, no matter how good our regulations maybe, we therefore need to ensure our areas of high conservation value are protected.
“I also welcome the release of the Government’s response to the Montara Commission of Inquiry. The Government has made a start by improving the oil and gas regulatory regime and the response to an oil spill, but the new regulator has a lot of work to do,” concluded Senator Siewert.