Environment » Stakeholder engagement and transparency
Stakeholder engagement and transparency
NOPSEMA continues to strive to increase community confidence in the offshore petroleum regulatory regime by improving stakeholder consultation and transparency. This is being achieved through disclosing more information to the public, targeting regulatory work at areas of poor consultation practice, and increasing avenues for community input to better understand its views.
In July 2017, NOPSEMA established the Transparency Taskforce to align efforts on transparency initiatives with other jurisdictions and to assist the industry in identifying solutions to common issues. The taskforce is overseen by a Steering Committee of Commonwealth and state/territory government agencies and petroleum industry and community representatives. This page outlines some of the initiatives that are currently underway within the taskforce.
Communicating Transparency Taskforce progress and achievements
NOPSEMA has begun publishing records of the Transparency Taskforce to communicate progress on its six work streams, including initiatives such as the development of regulatory amendments, community open day planning, any changes to NOPSEMA’s processes and website and the development of environmental reference cases. Work stream updates, the terms of reference for the taskforce and recent Steering Committee meeting records are available under Quick links.
Community and environment reference group
NOPSEMA is pleased to have established a new Community and Environment Reference Group, which offers an avenue for receiving community views on our performance in regulating offshore petroleum environmental management. Members of the group participate as individuals, rather than representatives of their employer or organisation, and contribute their experience and perspectives in a range of areas that interact with offshore petroleum environmental regulation, including:
commercial and recreational fishing,
public policy and government functioning,
small business and tourism,
cultural heritage and Indigenous communities; and
regional perspectives from the northern, north-west and south-east regions of Australia.
The group will hold its inaugural meeting in March 2018, and will reconvene regularly.
Reference Case Project
In 2017, the Transparency Taskforce commenced work on the establishment of environmental reference cases which seek to extract common content and typical practices from environment plans and publish them at a central location. The NOPSEMA-initiated project has now transferred ownership to National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), enabling the project to evolve as intended into an industry initiative. NOPSEMA will focus on its regulatory role in the assessment of reference cases for environment plans. Updates on the project are available at nera.org.au.
Amendments to the consultation and transparency requirements of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (Environment) Regulations 2009
While the Environment Regulations already contain mechanisms that aim to provide transparency to stakeholders and ensure the consultation process is undertaken appropriately, feedback from industry and community stakeholders indicate that these mechanisms are not meeting all stakeholders’ expectations. Efforts across the sector to improve consultation and transparency were boosted in November 2017 when the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, the Hon Senator Matt Canavan, approved a series of changes that include in policy, amongst other initiatives:
requiring full publication of environment plans at the time they are submitted to NOPSEMA
formalising a public comment period on environment plans for all exploration activities
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS) has commenced work to develop regulatory amendments to implement these policy outcomes. Further information can be found at industry.gov.au.
Completed: Stakeholder engagement and transparency work program
NOPSEMA identified through regulatory research that poor environmental consultation practices in the offshore petroleum industry can lead to negative impacts on individuals, communities, and organisations. NOPSEMA also received feedback that the current transparency of its decision-making processes and practices was not meeting community expectations. In August 2015, NOPSEMA announced a Stakeholder engagement and transparency work program to address these issues.
A total of 18 initiatives were identified through the work program to address issues associated with consultation and transparency. Of these initiatives, 16 have been completed including enhancements to the NOPSEMA website, publication of additional information on environment plans, increased community engagement and publication of new guidance and information brochures.
NOPSEMA determined that the two remaining initiatives should be taken over by the Transparency Taskforce for further development. On 31 July 2017, NOPSEMA officially closed the work program. The Final Report - Stakeholder engagement and transparency work program - August 2017 (PDF 160KB) provides details of the completed work program, as well as a summary of engagement with stakeholders.