Remaking Offshore Minerals Regulations: Consultation

Closed 13 Apr 2018

Opened 27 Mar 2018

Overview

The Offshore Minerals Regulations under the Commonwealth Offshore Minerals Act 1994 and associated Acts are scheduled to sunset on 1 October 2018 and 1 April 2019.

The Australian government proposes to remake these without substantive changes.

The offshore minerals industry in Australia is relatively small and embryonic, reducing the scope to assess whether the current regulations are operating efficiently and effectively.

Remaking the regulations will ensure continuity of law and coverage of matters such as submission of data should operations increase in scale in the future. Amendments can be made at a later date if it becomes evident that these are required.

To ensure continuity of law, each of the Offshore Minerals Regulations will be remade and registered before the first of the sunset dates (1 October 2018). Minor technical amendments may be made to modernise provisions and update drafting in line with current practice.

Next Steps

Comments will be taken into consideration by the Department in progressing the remake of the current regulations.

Further information about the remake of these regulations will be communicated via Australian Petroleum News.

Additional information

The Department has consulted with the Office of Best Practice Regulation, which has advised that remaking the regulations will have no more than minor impacts on business, community organisations or individuals, and changes in regulatory costs are likely to be nil or negligible.

Background

The following regulations under the Commonwealth Offshore Minerals Act 1994 and associated Acts are scheduled to sunset either on 1 October 2018 or 1 April 2019:

The regulations relating to fees set the amount of annual fees payable by holders of offshore minerals licences, as well as the amount of fees payable in relation to matters such as applications for the grant and renewal of licences or consents, applications for approval of certain dealings in licences, and obtaining certified copies of documents. These fees ensure the Designated Authorities (state and Northern Territory governments) receive funding for administering the offshore minerals legislation on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The Offshore Minerals (Ballot Procedures) Regulations set out the manner of lodgement of an application for an exploration licence or a mining licence, and procedures to be followed when dealing with multiple applications received within a particular time of each other.

The Offshore Minerals (Data Lodgment and Reporting) Regulations set out requirements for licensees to submit reports and samples to Designated Authorities, prescribe the form and content of submissions, and enable the Designated Authorities to seek further information from licensees where necessary.  

Automatic repeal (sunsetting) of legislative instruments

Under the Commonwealth Legislation Act 2003 (the Legislation Act), legislative instruments (such as regulations) cease to have effect (sunset) on the relevant sunsetting date (normally about 10 years after registration of the instrument), unless action is taken to extend it.

The sunsetting provisions in the Legislation Act and the Government’s best practice regulation requirements seek to ensure that suitable review mechanisms exist so that legislative instruments remain fit-for-purpose, necessary and relevant.

In general, there are three possible outcomes for instruments due to sunset. These are that an instrument is:

  • No longer required
  • Remade with amendments
  • Remade without amendments.

Audiences

  • Offshore minerals industry

Interests

  • Offshore mineral exploration and mining