Referring to information previously submitted
Article published in the Regulator | Issue 6: 2014
On 28 February 2014, amendments to the Environment Regulations introduced Regulation 31 which provides for titleholders to refer to information that was previously submitted to NOPSEMA for another purpose. The aim of this provision is to remove unnecessary duplication and improve procedural efficiency for titleholders.
Referring to information that was previously submitted may be appropriate, for example, when a submitted environment plan (EP) includes an identical spill scenario to that of an accepted EP. In this instance, a titleholder could refer to the spill response and/or post-spill monitoring program in the accepted EP rather than duplicating the information in a new EP submission. The provision may also apply to aspects of the description of the environment for a new activity in the same location.
Further explanation and examples can be found in the explanatory statement for the Environment Regulations at legislation.gov.au.
When a titleholder refers to information that was previously submitted, NOPSEMA will assess that information as though it is part of the EP submission. Titleholders should ensure that the specific location of the referenced information (document title; identification, revision, section and page numbers) is provided and its relevance to the current submission clearly explained. It would also be useful for titleholders to clearly identify when the document was submitted to NOPSEMA and the associated assessment ID number.
Titleholders should be aware that whilst information may have been sufficient or adequate for its original purpose, NOPSEMA may not accept the same information as sufficient or adequate for the new submission.
Prior to deciding if it would be appropriate to refer to previously submitted information titleholders should consider if their internal compliance systems can effectively accommodate monitoring compliance with requirements set out in multiple documents, including those that may have been developed for other purposes. Particular care should also be taken where information is referred to in EPs that were submitted and accepted prior to the commencement of amendments to the Environment Regulations in February 2014 and to EPs that are currently under assessment and have not yet been accepted by NOPSEMA.