The department agrees with all recommendations made by REM Associates and is committed to improving current procedures and processes outlined in the Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework and the department’s Crisis Management System.
The need for open and effective communication and coordination between stakeholders in the event of an offshore petroleum incident should not be underestimated, and as such the department will work to:
- Improve the clarity of the role and function of the OPICC in relation to the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework to prevent duplication of roles and responsibilities.
- Clearly identify the capabilities and expertise offered by OPICC member agencies to ensure all available resources are fully utilised.
- Review processes for escalation and de-escalation to ensure an appropriate, scalable response to an offshore incident.
- Improve processes that ensure effective flow of information between the various stakeholders during an incident, including the Titleholder, the state/territory government, the OPICC and other relevant agencies.
- Improve capability and the processes in place to rapidly establish situational awareness and a common operating picture to enable strategic decision-making.
- Review the current communications strategy and develop processes to manage whole-of-government communication ensuring appropriate media management and coordinated messaging to the public and relevant stakeholders.
- Maintain ongoing engagement with the offshore petroleum industry to ensure a common understanding of expertise, responsibilities, coordination arrangements and media management.
- Promote the role of the OPICC among all relevant stakeholders to ensure that its function and merits are well understood and utilised effectively during future exercises or in the event of a real incident.
The department also recognises the need for ongoing crisis management training to ensure that those involved in a departmental response to an offshore incident understand their role and how that relates to the desired outcomes, and can adequately undertake their role. Existing capabilities and opportunities within the Australian Government will be leveraged where possible to streamline training effort.
The department recognises the importance of strengthened engagement with relevant government agencies and the offshore petroleum industry to increase their awareness and understanding of the Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework and the role of the Commonwealth during an offshore petroleum incident. The rarity of this type of incident poses difficulties for the department in ensuring continued stakeholder awareness and familiarity, however the implementation of more regular smaller exercises and ongoing engagement with stakeholders will seek to address this.