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The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework is exercised every two years to test procedures, enhance participants’ knowledge of plans, and identify opportunities to improve competency and capability. This is done in preparation for the unlikely event of an offshore petroleum incident occurring in Commonwealth waters.

In September 2017, the Commonwealth Government participated in Exercise Ningaloo Challenge, which was led by the Western Australia Department of Transport (WA DoT).

Exercise Ningaloo Challenge was a real time, strategic level, functional[1] exercise focusing on the practical implementation of Commonwealth, state and industry emergency management arrangements in response to a Level 3 offshore marine oil pollution incident[2].

The Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Committee (OPICC)-led component of the exercise was conducted in Canberra, in coordination with Commonwealth participants and state and industry activities across Western Australia in Fremantle, Perth and Exmouth. The exercise was run concurrently over two time zones; Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and Australian Western Standard Time.

Risk Emergency Management (REM) Associates was contracted by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the department) to integrate a sub-exercise into Exercise Ningaloo Challenge. This sub-exercise was designed to evaluate the performance of the OPICC and the department’s Crisis Management Team (CMT).

This report includes the recommendations made by REM Associates after evaluating the performance of the OPICC and the department’s CMT during the exercise. The department’s response to these recommendations and the proposed actions to address the recommendations are provided.


[1] The Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program describes a functional exercise as one designed to examine and/or validate the plans and staff members involved in coordination, command and control functions across multi-agency coordination centres.

[2] Level 3 incidents are characterised by a degree of complexity that requires strong strategic leadership and coordination, and may be supported by national and international resources and capability.