NOPSEMA responds to Chief Scientist’s Audit findings

News announcement - Published 21 November, 2019

NOPSEMA has addressed the findings of Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Audit into NOPSEMA’s consideration of exploration in the Great Australian Bight by publishing a series of detailed responses and intended actions against each of the Chief Scientist’s findings.

The Chief Scientist’s Audit Report, released on 20 September 2019, recognises NOPSEMA as a “highly skilled, professional and competent regulator” with “appropriate processes and practices to ensure environment plans are assessed against relevant, sufficient and complete scientific and technical information”. However, the audit highlighted opportunities to improve the transparency of environmental decision-making processes and provide greater clarification of how decisions are made in compliance with requirements under the Commonwealth Environment Regulations.

NOPSEMA recognises there is growing community interest in the progression of petroleum activities through the regulatory assessment process. NOPSEMA also acknowledges that stakeholders are seeking to have more insight into regulatory decision-making. To enhance transparency, where there is heightened stakeholder interest in an activity, NOPSEMA will publish further explanatory information on its website regarding the nature of interim steps prior to accepting or refusing an environment plan.

In responding to opportunities for improvement specific to its role as a regulator, NOPSEMA has acted to further improve transparency and engagement with stakeholders associated with the offshore petroleum industry. In addition, NOPSEMA will contribute to the opportunities identified for the offshore oil and gas industry and the government more broadly where NOPSEMA's involvement and contribution may be of benefit.

NOPSEMA’s actions are outlined in a table, which can be found in NOPSEMA response to Chief Scientist Audit (PDF 185KB).