Peak Environmental bodies welcome change to Offshore Petroleum Bill to remove fast-track approvals

Nature Conservation Council

16th May 2024

Australia’s peak state and territory environmental bodies today welcomed the agreement between the Greens and the Albanese government to amend the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment (Safety and Other Measures) Bill 2024 by removing Schedule 2, Part 2.

The legislation as initially proposed would have effectively granted the offshore oil and gas industry a free pass from national environmental laws.

The Bill has been widely condemned by members of the crossbench and the environmental movement.

They warned that the bill could pave the way to diminished rights to consultation for the community, First Nations people, and environment groups, as well as reducing environmental protections and oversight of the hazardous offshore oil and gas industry.

Jess Beckerling, Executive Director of The Conservation Council of Western Australia, said:

“Today’s win for the community is a victory against ongoing attempts to fast-track gas industry approvals and silence First Nations voices.

“This massive response, led by First Nations leaders, ensures that communities continue to have a voice about what happens in our country. This is good news for our climate and our environment, and we now turn our collective attention to the government’s dangerous Future Gas Strategy.”

Jacqui Mumford, Nature Conservation Council of NSW said:

“This is a win for climate, nature and the community.

“The initial proposal bypassed environmental laws and First Nations voices, displaced the role of the Environment Minister, and dramatically weakened oversight and accountability.”

Kirsty Howey, Executive Director of the Environment Centre NT, said:

“This win shows that the community – led by First Nations leaders – has the power to overcome insidious vested fossil fuel interests. However, the work is far from over. The Albanese Government must abandon its climate-wrecking Future Gas Strategy once and for all, and put an end to the approval of new fossil fuel projects in this country.”

Jono La Nauze, CEO of Environment Victoria said:

“With this change, the Environment Minister will retain oversight of offshore oil and gas assessment and regulation, but much more needs to be done to respect the rights of Traditional Owners and end Australia’s massive exports of climate pollution.”

Dave Copeman, Director of the Queensland Conservation Council, said:

“We need stronger Nature laws, designed to end the biodiversity crisis we currently face. These exemptions on consultation would have allowed offshore gas to not listen to traditional owners and ignore their significant knowledge of Country.”

Statement Ends

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