Regulation and licensing

All Australian states and territories have strong regulatory frameworks in place to manage impacts of petroleum exploration and production.

In all Australian jurisdictions, companies intending to carry out drilling and stimulation operations must submit several applications to the relevant departments, including:

  • a drilling application
  • an environment plan
  • a safety management plan.

Assessment of these plans will determine any additional measures required during operations, such as monitoring of aquifers.

Separate permits are required for the exploration and production phases.

The oil and gas industry supports effective, efficient and transparent regulation based on sound science.

The Australian oil and gas industry works to highest standards, uses hundreds of environmental scientists, and has a long history of responsible environmental management.

The Australian Council of Learned Academies has compiled a list of legislation governing the shale gas industry’s development.

This legislation outlines the requirements for companies operating in Australia, which includes the need to protect the environment and safety of workers.

Regulation is overseen by different government departments across Australia, including:

Western Australia

South Australia

Northern Territory

Queensland

Some indicative Commonwealth, States, and Local Government Regulations, Acts, Policies and Guidelines potentially covering shale gas

Commonwealth

  • Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007
  • Native Title Act 1993
  • Water Act 2007
New South Wales

  • Aquifer Integrity Policy 2012
  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • Forestry Act 1916
  • Native Vegetation Act 2003
  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
  • Noxious Weeds Act 1993
  • NSW Biodiversity Strategy 1999
  • Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991
  • Petroleum (Onshore) Regulations 2007
  • Pipelines Act 1967
  • Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
  • Rural Fires Act 1997
  • State Environmental Protection Plans
  • State Environmental Planning Policies
  • Strategic Regional Land Use Policy 2012
  • Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995
  • Water Management Act 2000
  • Water Act 1912
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Queensland

  • Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003
  • Environmental Protection Act 1994
  • Environmental Protection Regulations 2008
  • Greentape Reduction Act 2012
  • Nature Conservation Act 1994
  • Petroleum & Gas (Production & Safety) Act 2004
  • State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971
  • Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011
  • Water Act 2000
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Victoria

  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  • Environmental Protection Act 1970
  • Environmental Effects Act 1978
  • Pipelines Act 2005
  • Pipelines Regulations 2007
  • Planning and Environmental Act 1987
  • Water Act 1989
South Australia

  • Development Act 1993
  • Environmental Protection Act 1993
  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000
  • Petroleum and Geothermal Regulations 2010
Western Australia

  • Environmental Protection Act 1986
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Administrative Procedures 2010
  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 1967
  • Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914
Northern Territory

  • Environmental Assessment Act 1982
  • Petroleum Act 1984
  • Petroleum Regulations 1994
  • Pipelines Regulations 1994
Tasmania

  • Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994
  • Gas Pipelines Act 2000
  • Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993
  • Water Management Act 1999
Local Government

  • Council Local Environmental Plans
  • Natural Resource Management/Catchment Management Authority Regulations