House of Representatives

Offshore Petroleum (Repeals and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2006

Second Reading Speech

Mr Entsch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources)

I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

To enable the passage of a rewritten version of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 and incorporated acts, the Offshore Petroleum (Repeals and Consequential Amendments) Bill 2005 proposes repeal of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Fees Act 1994, the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Registration Fees) Act 1967 and the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) (Royalty) Act 1967. The legislative regime in these acts would be re-established by the coming into force of the proposed Offshore Petroleum Act 2005, the Offshore Petroleum (Annual Fees) Act 2005, the Offshore Petroleum (Registration Fees) Act 2005 and the Offshore Petroleum (Royalty) Act 2005. Second, 30 other Commonwealth acts have been identified as requiring consequential amendments if the proposed new acts become law. This bill includes the relevant amendments.

The acts in question refer to provisions of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act, either to avoid conflict with that act or because they confer rights, make prohibitions or impose obligations under different areas of law on persons who have a presence in the geographic areas that are covered by the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act. These areas of law include, for example, taxation and immigration. The consequential amendments to these acts proposed by this bill are mostly straightforward substitutions of terminology and references to schedules, parts and sections that appear in the Offshore Petroleum Bill.

Included is an amendment to the Corporations Act 2001. In accordance with the Corporations Agreement, I can advise that the government has consulted with the Ministerial Council for Corporations in relation to this bill. The council provided the necessary approval for the text of the bill, as required under the agreement for amendments of this kind. Also included is an amendment to the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, which will enable that act to cover decisions of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority and OHS inspectors in relation to the designated coastal waters of certain states and the Northern Territory.

Finally, I would mention schedule 3 to this bill, which is an adjunct provision to one of the policy changes in the Offshore Petroleum Bill, specifically the removal of criminal sanction from failure to commence works or operations within a specified timeframe. This schedule is included so that any past breach of the section in question that could otherwise lead to a criminal conviction after the repeal of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act will not lead to a prosecution or a conviction. It will also relieve persons from any civil consequences that may otherwise have arisen from the existence or possible existence of an offence under the provision. I commend the bill to honourable members and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Gavan O'Connor) adjourned.