The Australian Government’s interim response to the productivity commission inquiry report into mineral and energy resource exploration

  • Print friendly version - The Australian Government’s interim response to the productivity commission inquiry report into mineral and energy resource exploration
  • Media release - The Australian Government’s interim response to the productivity commission inquiry report into mineral and energy resource exploration (28 May 2014)               

On 27 September 2012 the Productivity Commission (the Commission) was tasked with investigating reform options to address non-financial barriers to exploration for mineral and energy resources in Australia, focusing on unnecessary regulatory burdens, the complexity and timeframes for government approvals, and duplication between and within jurisdictions.

The Commission has made 22 recommendations in relation to non-financial barriers to mineral and energy resource exploration in Australia. The recommendations focus on effective and efficient regulation and, if implemented nationally, are likely to reduce the red and green tape burden as well as costs for the exploration industry. While energy and resource exploration only represents a small share of the Australian economy, at just over $8 billion in 2012-13, equivalent to about half of one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), it is a vital precursor to resource development and extraction which accounts for around nine per cent of GDP.

The recommendations of the Productivity Commission Inquiry are consistent with the Government’s comprehensive agenda to restore confidence in the mining sector. In particular, the Commission’s report will help advance the Government’s red tape reduction programme which aims to reduce unnecessary red tape costs on individuals, businesses and community organisations. Initiatives include:

  • A Government-wide commitment to reduce the annual cost of unnecessary or inefficient regulation on business, community organisations and individuals by at least $1 billion per year
  • Removal of the carbon and mining taxes
  • Production of an Energy White Paper, which will provide certainty and confidence to industry with a focus on reducing cost pressures, reforming regulation and improving workforce development to
  •  make the Australian industry more competitive
  • A ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental assessments and approvals, to which all Australian states and territories are working to develop by the end of 2014. The ‘one-stop shop’ will create certainty for investment, grow the economy, reduce costs for business, and boost productivity while maintaining high environmental standards, and
  • The Eastern Australian Domestic Gas Market Study, released in January 2014, which identified six reform areas to reduce barriers to gas supply and improve market efficiency.

Responsibility for legislation and processes impacted by the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mineral and Energy Resource Exploration is shared between the Commonwealth, and State and Northern Territory governments.

Of the 22 recommendations, the Commonwealth has implemented six through previous processes; agreed five; provisionally agreed four; and noted seven. This forms the Commonwealth’s interim response. The interim response is being tabled in order to commence negotiations with the states and Northern Territory; a final response will be tabled within 24 months. In order to further facilitate implementation, indicative timeframes are included in the table below. These timeframes refer to when the Commonwealth will be seeking agreement for policy implementation with the states and Northern Territory, noting that implementation of regulatory frameworks across jurisdictions, if agreed, would take longer.

The Australian Government response reflects its responsibilities for access to Commonwealth land, most offshore approvals and when the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) is triggered. In the context of the EPBC Act, the Government is committed to creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental approvals that uses State and Territory Government systems to reduce duplication, while maintaining high environmental standards.  The Australian Government will also work with states and territories to identify unworkable, contradictory or incompatible ‘green tape’ through a national review of environmental regulation.  This review will provide an opportunity to investigate potential benefits to national productivity arising from the reduction of regulatory burden.

The Commonwealth, through the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), under the authority of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGS Act), regulates all oil and gas activities offshore areas in Commonwealth waters. NOPSEMA is Commonwealth Government's primary regulator for compliance with environmental safety laws on all offshore petroleum facilities located in its waters, and includes regulation of occupational health and safety, wells and well operations, together with regulation of the structural integrity of facilities and environmental management within Commonwealth waters.

The Commonwealth also manages, in partnership with the states and the Northern Territory (joint authorities), the assessment of applications and the award of exploration permits for oil and gas in offshore waters. The primary objective in awarding an exploration permit is to select the bid most likely to achieve the fullest assessment of the petroleum potential within the permit area in the minimum guaranteed period of the permit. The National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) administers titles, undertakes data and resource management, and provides technical advice to the Joint Authority, and oversees the National Electronic Approvals Tracking System (NEATS). NEATS provides access to publicly available information concerning offshore petroleum titles and applications. NEATS includes a public portal and provides access to information held within the title register, application tracking and the electronic lodgement of applications.  NEATS now also provides industry with portal access for a consolidated view of the titles in which they participate and allows titleholders to lodge key applications and make or advise of fee payments.

The Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (Cth) (ATSIHP Act) can be used to protect significant Aboriginal areas and objects from injury or desecration, being areas and objects in Australia and Australian waters that are of particular significance to Aboriginals in accordance with Aboriginal tradition. The Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993, the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and the state Indigenous land rights regimes were specifically excluded from examination in this inquiry.

Other than these roles, responsibility for regulating exploration sits with the States and the Northern Territory.  As a result the scope of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations will require coordination between the Commonwealth and the states and Northern Territory governments. With the public release of the Productivity Commission report, the Commonwealth will commence work with the states and Northern territory to discuss implementation options across all jurisdictions with a particular focus on increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of regulatory frameworks.

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 3.1: Governments should ensure that their authorities responsible for exploration licensing:

  • prepare and publish information on the government’s exploration licensing objectives and the criteria by which applications for exploration licences will be assessed
  • publish the outcome of exploration licence allocation assessments, including the name of the successful bidder and the reasons why their bid was successful.
Commonwealth approvals – implemented

The Commonwealth Department of Industry publishes its licensing objectives for offshore petroleum exploration on the petroleum acreage website. Assessment criteria for exploration permits are explained through guidelines published on the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA) website, and in a more general way through fact sheets available on the petroleum acreage website. The guidelines are regularly reviewed to ensure they are current.

The awarding of permits is gazetted and the successful bid is made public through the title instrument on the National Electronic Approvals Tracking system (NEATS) website and a Ministerial media release. Specific reasons for the selection of the successful bid over other bids are not made publically available as bids are commercially sensitive and provided on an in-confidence basis. Companies which are unsuccessful can apply to the Joint Authority for further information.  Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and information which can be shared while protecting confidentiality of commercial information is provided to the requesting company.

State and Northern Territory approvals

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 4.1: Regulators of exploration activity should create public databases which would allow any interested user to know where exploration licences exist or have been applied for. The public database should be map-based and facilitate address-based searches. The system should allow interested parties the option of being automatically notified if exploration licences are allocated or applied for in a particular area.

Commonwealth approvals– implemented

Public access to information on offshore approvals in Commonwealth waters is available through NEATS, a public database of offshore exploration permits with maps, title instruments and work program activities. NEATS is maintained by NOPTA.  

States and Northern Territory approvals  

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration. 

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation 4.2: The maker of exploration licensing decisions should provide the relevant party or parties with a statement of reasons for decisions such as to: allocate or renew a licence, or not to do so; revoke a licence; impose conditions on licences; or allow or disallow a transfer of title.

Commonwealth approvals – implemented

Decisions related to offshore petroleum titles and licences are made public on the NEATS website and gazetted where required. Companies which are unsuccessful can apply to the Joint Authority for explanations of unsuccessful applications.

State and Northern Territory approvals

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 4.3: Where not already implemented, governments should ensure that at a minimum their lead agencies responsible for exploration proactively guide exploration proposals and related approvals (such as environment and heritage approvals) through the agencies responsible for regulatory assessments and approvals.

Commonwealth and State and Northern Territory approvals – provisional agreement

The Commonwealth notes the utility of this recommendation, including alignment with ‘one-stop shop’ processes/procedures which are currently being implemented.

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation after the ‘one-stop-shop’ implementation has been completed.

Implementation timeframe: July 2015

Recommendation 4.4: Governments should ensure that their regulators set target timeframes for their assessment and decision-making processes for exploration licensing and related approvals (such as in relation to environment and heritage). The lead agency for exploration should publish whole-of-government performance reports against these timeframes on their website.

Commonwealth and State and Northern Territory approvals – provisional agreement

The Commonwealth collects data on the time taken to process approvals and agrees there is utility in setting and tracking timeframes for assessment and decision-making processes for exploration licensing and related approvals. For offshore licensing, the NEATS website provides an Approvals Tracking online database for industry to view the status of their application. Approvals in Commonwealth waters for offshore exploration licences are also subject to responses from State and Territory counterparts.  

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 4.5: Regulators of exploration activity should expand the use of online lodgement and tracking technologies and develop systems that support integrated performance reporting to the extent that the benefits in their jurisdiction exceed the costs.

Commonwealth approvals – implemented

NEATS was developed in response to recommendations contained within the Productivity Commission Review of Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum (Oil &Gas) Sector (April 2009) to develop an electronic approvals tracking system.  This was part of the broader reform process to establish a single national regulator for offshore petroleum activities in Commonwealth waters.  NEATS is administered by NOPTA on behalf of the Joint Authority.

NEATS is a public tool for use by the Joint Authority and currently provides access to publicly available information concerning offshore petroleum titles applications and provides industry with portal access for the online payment of fees and the lodgement and tracking of applications.

The Government supports the intent of this recommendation, with consideration of the regulatory costs relative to the effectiveness of existing systems and potential benefits in increased transparency for industry.

NEATS will continue to develop over time with future releases to further increase functionality.  Key areas being considered for future development include reporting functionality and management and lodging of regular reporting.

State and Northern Territory approvals 

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.  

Implementation timeframe: December 2015  

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 5.1: Governments should, when deciding to declare a new national park or conservation reserve in recognition of its environmental and heritage value, use evidence-based analyses of the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of alternative or shared land use, including exploration. In doing so, they should draw on the guiding principles of the Draft Multiple Land Use Framework endorsed by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources.

Governments should, where consideration of exploration activity is allowed, assess applications by explorers to access a national park or conservation reserve according to the risk and the potential impact of the specific proposed activity on the environmental and heritage values and on other uses and users of that national park or conservation reserve.

Commonwealth – noted

The declaration of national parks and access to national parks is largely the responsibility of State and Territory government agencies.  

The Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority takes the marine reserves network into account when selecting acreage and awarding permits.

The Commonwealth will continue to work across Commonwealth agencies to ensure that offshore exploration can continue in prospective areas, taking a risk-based approach to selecting areas for future acreage releases for exploration.

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2015

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 5.2: State and territory governments should ensure that:

  • reasonable legal and other costs incurred by land holders in negotiating a land access agreement are compensable by explorers, including where the explorer withdraws from the negotiations prior to finalising the agreement
  • land holders are made aware that such compensation is available.

Commonwealth – noted

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2015

Recommendation 5.3: Governments should ensure that the development of coal seam gas exploration regulation is evidence-based and is appropriate to the level of risk. The regulation should draw on the guiding principles of the Draft Multiple Land Use Framework endorsed by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources to weigh the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits for those directly affected as well as for the whole community, and should evolve in step with the evidence.

Commonwealth – noted

The Government’s Energy White Paper is considering these issues in the context of energy security, regulatory reform, gas supply and the continued investment in energy resource projects.

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with States and the Northern Territory to develop guidance to assist exploration companies define exploration activities to a level whereby the risk to sensitive areas can be accurately determined and managed.  This will complement the Nationalised Harmonised Regulatory Framework on Natural Gas from Coal Seams that was endorsed by the Standing Council on Energy and Resources in May 2013.   

Implementation timeframe: December 2015

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 6.1: The Australian Government should establish a system to accredit appropriate state and territory Indigenous heritage protection regimes, thus reducing the potential for regulatory duplication. Accreditation could only occur once Commonwealth requirements and standards are met.

Commonwealth – noted

The Government is committed to creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental approvals that uses state and territory government systems to reduce duplication, while maintaining high environmental standards. The broadest range of approvals will be pursued under approval bilateral agreements with states and territories, including heritage approvals. 

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 6.2: Governments should ensure that their heritage authorities:

  • require that resource explorers or other parties lodge all heritage surveys with that authority
  • maintain registers which map and list all known Indigenous heritage sites
  • adopt measures to ensure that sensitive information collected by a survey is only provided to approved parties (and only as necessary for the purposes of their activities), on the basis of agreed protocols.
Commonwealth – noted

The Commonwealth notes that the adoption of these measures is largely the responsibility of State and Territory Governments.

In this context, the Commonwealth notes that these measures could reduce duplicative surveys and result in more effective and consistent protection for significant Indigenous heritage.

The Commonwealth notes that these measures would be effective if the information about Indigenous sites that governments provide to proponents, and owners and occupiers of land, is accurate and informative. To this end, prescribing standards for recording such information would assist. In addition, for the purposes of enforcing legislation, it would be important for governments to maintain records about the provision of the information to proponents and others.

Properly configured, these proposals should encourage Indigenous people to lodge cultural information for current and future generations, reversing the current tendencies to withhold information from government, and for heritage consultants and corporations to retain this information in their private repositories.

States and Northern Territory
The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 6.3: State and territory governments should manage Indigenous heritage on a risk assessment basis.

  • Where there is a low likelihood of heritage significance in a tenement and the exploration activity is low risk, a streamlined ‘duty of care’ or ‘due diligence’ process should be adopted.
  • Where there is a high likelihood of heritage significance and the exploration activity is higher risk, agreement making should be adopted.
  • When negotiated agreements cannot be reached, all parties should have access to a facilitation process.
  • When facilitation is unsuccessful, governments should make decisions about heritage protection based on clear criteria, transparency and consultation with the proponent and Indigenous parties that have authority to speak for country.

Commonwealth – noted

The Commonwealth notes that the management of Indigenous heritage is largely the responsibility of State and Territory Governments.  

This approach resembles processes in the Native Title Act 1993, and would interact with native title in complex ways.

The Commonwealth notes that a negotiated approach to heritage surveys would be enhanced if Governments maintained records of the outcomes of those negotiations and made them available to interested parties, subject to appropriate confidentiality requirements. The use of a negotiated approach should also reflect the public interest in ensuring Indigenous heritage is maintained while reflecting that traditional owners are the primary source of information about sacred sites. 

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation.

Implementation timeframe: December 2015

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.1: The Commonwealth Minister should endorse the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority’s process to assess and accept environmental management arrangements for petroleum exploration activities in Commonwealth waters for the purposes of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).

Commonwealth – agreed

The Australian Government has completed a Strategic Assessment under Part 10 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) of NOPSEMA’s offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas environmental management authorisation process.

The Commonwealth Minister for the Environment has endorsed NOPSEMA’s process and issued a class approval under the EPBC Act for petroleum and greenhouse gas activities undertaken in accordance with this process. This means NOPSEMA is the sole designated assessor for offshore petroleum activities undertaken in its jurisdiction. This provides greater certainty for business, accelerates approval times and supports investment decisions, while ensuring strong environmental safeguards are maintained.  

Implementation timeframe: Implemented March 2014

Recommendation 7.2: The Australian Government should improve the efficiency of environmental assessment and approval processes under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) by strengthening bilateral arrangements with the states and territories for assessments and establishing bilateral agreements for the accreditation of approval processes where the state and territory processes meet appropriate standards. The necessary steps to implement this reform should be properly identified, scoped and approved by COAG and published with a timetable of key milestones.

Commonwealth – agreed

The Government is committed to creating a ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental approvals.

Under the ‘one-stop shop’ policy the Commonwealth intends to accredit state and territory environmental assessment and approval systems under national environment law. This will create a single approval process that satisfies both state and Commonwealth requirements, and ensures that high environmental standards are maintained. 

The Prime Minister has now signed Memoranda of Understanding with all states and territories to implement the ‘one-stop shop’, and bilateral agreements have been signed with NSW and QLD to streamline assessment processes.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.3: The Australian Government should give priority to undertaking and publishing a review of the benefits and costs of the ‘water trigger’ amendment to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), including the exclusion of water trigger-related actions from bilateral approval arrangements.

Commonwealth – agreed

The ‘water trigger’, which commenced in mid-2013, is a new matter of national environmental significance under the EPBC Act. It allows the impacts of proposed coal seam gas and large coal mining developments on water resources to be comprehensively assessed at a national level.

Consistent with the Government’s Regulation Impact Statement guidelines, a post-implementation review of the ‘water trigger’ must commence by mid-2015 – within two years of implementation. The requirement for a review is also reflected in the EPBC Act. This review will include and publish a review of the costs and benefits of the ‘water trigger’ amendment.

Implementation timeframe: December 2015

Recommendation 7.4: The Australian Government, in cooperation with state and territory governments, the resources industry and other stakeholders, should make greater use of strategic assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) and, where appropriate, reduce reliance on project-based assessments.

The different models of strategic assessment should be reviewed periodically by governments to assess their overall efficiency and effectiveness.

Commonwealth – agreed

Strategic assessments are an efficient and effective tool to streamline environmental assessments. The Australian Government is undertaking a number of strategic assessments with state governments across Australia, including the Perth and Peel assessment in Western Australia, Great Barrier Reef assessment in Queensland and Lower Hunter assessment in New South Wales. 

The Government has committed to continue working with the states on strategic assessments as part of its policy on the ‘one-stop shop’ for environmental approvals. This includes working with the states to identify priorities for potential future strategic assessments.

Implementation timeframe: Ongoing

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.5: Governments should ensure that their regulatory agencies only set requirements relating to exploration that are:

  • the minimum necessary to meet their policy objectives
  • proportionate to the impacts and risks associated with the nature, scale and location of the proposed exploration activity.

Commonwealth – agreed

NOPSEMA is responsible for regulating human health and safety, structural integrity and environmental management of all offshore petroleum activities and facilities in Commonwealth waters, and in coastal waters where State powers have been conferred. 

The Department of Industry regularly reviews the relevant offshore regulations to ensure they meet and reflect leading practice for objective based regulation of environmental management.  

Under the EPBC Act any mineral and energy resource exploration action will only require approval if the action has, will have, or is likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance (defined under the EPBC Act).

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.6: Governments should adopt performance-based environmental regulation of exploration activities wherever practicable, in order to better manage risk and achieve environmentally sound outcomes.

Commonwealth – implemented

Where appropriate the Government is committed to imposing outcomes focused conditions on environmental approvals. The Government is committed to working with states and territories to develop a single set of outcome focused conditions under the ‘one-stop shop’ reforms.

Australia’s offshore petroleum industry is regulated under an objective-based regime.  NOPSEMA is responsible for regulating human health and safety, structural integrity and environmental management of all offshore petroleum facilities in Commonwealth waters, and in coastal waters where State powers have been conferred.   

NOPSEMA regulates the industry under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and regulations.  Petroleum operators are responsible for carrying out activities in a manner that reduces the risks to the environment to as low as reasonably practicable.  When seeking to undertake a petroleum activity, titleholders are required to demonstrate through their Environment Plan that their activity is consistent with ecologically sustainable development, with appropriate environmental performance outcomes and standards in place.

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.7: Governments should ensure that when there is uncertainty surrounding the environmental impacts of exploration activities, regulatory settings should evolve with the best available knowledge (adaptive management) and decisions on environmental approvals should be evidence-based.

Commonwealth – implemented

Where appropriate the Government supports the use of adaptive management strategies, including the provision of management plans in environmental approvals.   

When seeking to undertake an offshore petroleum activity, titleholders are required to demonstrate through their Environment Plan that their activity is consistent with ecologically sustainable development, with appropriate environmental performance outcomes and standards in place. Companies are able to seek to amend environment plans in response to changing circumstances.

 In assessing environment plans, the offshore petroleum regulator, NOPSEMA, assesses whether the environment plan is appropriate to the activity and its surrounding environment and complies with the regulations. For an environment plan to be accepted, the titleholder must address the regulatory requirements in a way that provides NOPSEMA with reasonable grounds to believe that the requirements have been, or will be, met. This should be supported by well-documented evidence.

Recommendation 7.8: Governments should clearly set out in a single location on the internet guidance on the range of approvals required.

Commonwealth – noted

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 7.9: Governments should ensure that their authorities responsible for assessing environmental plans and environmental impact statements (and equivalent documents) make their archived environmental information, including all information used in a decision-making process, publicly available on the internet, while operating within agreed protocols to protect commercially sensitive information.

Commonwealth – provisional agreement

Currently the offshore petroleum and carbon storage industry acquires a range of marine data to fulfil legislative requirements under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and the EPBC Act. Of the data collected, only seismic and well data, and biological samples are required by legislation to be submitted to central repositories (Geoscience Australia and Australian museums) for archiving.

Improved public transparency of marine environmental data by centralising the management of the data through Geoscience Australia databases provides potential public good benefits to governments and industry through open access to a larger volume of well managed and longitudinally relevant marine data. 

The EPBC Act requires the publication of a variety of information used in the decision-making process, including environmental impact assessments, referral information and notices of environmental approval decisions.

States and Northern Territory

The Commonwealth will work with the States and Northern Territory to consider implementation of this recommendation for onshore exploration and offshore mineral exploration.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Recommendation

Interim Response

Recommendation 8.1: The Australian Government should require foreign exploration companies operating in Australia and private exploration companies to publicly disclose information about resource discoveries in Australia on the same basis as the current requirements for exploration companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Commonwealth – provisional agreement

The Commonwealth acknowledges that accurate data on Australia’s resources stocks assists with the development of investment, exploration, trade, the mining industry’s ‘social licence to operate’ and is important for a wide range of policy applications; however, to require reporting by all exploration companies on the same basis as ASX reporting would require non-ASX companies to comply with the requirements of the Joint Ore Reserves Committee Code, imposing costs which may not be warranted. Unlisted entities may be choosing to forego the advantages of ASX listing in order to retain information in-confidence for commercial reasons. 

The Australian Government is currently working with the States and Territories to address data gaps around resources and reserves data. A Regulatory Impact Statement that covers all feasible option is being prepared.

Implementation timeframe: December 2014

Share this Page