The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, has reaffirmed the Australian Government's commitment to worker safety and environmental excellence for the oil and gas industry.
In a speech to the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association's 2009 National Oil and Gas Safety Conference, Minister Ferguson said the oil and gas industry must continue to strive for world's best practice and address issues raised by the recent Offshore Petroleum Regulatory Inquiry, which was established following the 2008 Varanus Island incident.
Minister Ferguson said: "The Inquiry's reports, which I released last month - Better Practice and the effectiveness of NOPSA and Marine Issues - provide a framework for government and industry to work together to deliver a safer industry.
"Significant growth in Australia's offshore petroleum industry is placing additional pressure on the national regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority, and confusion relating to cross-jurisdictional and regulatory boundaries has the potential to compound this.
"It is imperative that government and regulators work closely to build a consistent safety regime and culture that is well supported and sufficiently flexible to cope with the expected growth of the Australian offshore petroleum industry."
Minister Ferguson told the conference the Australian Government and the Ministerial Council on Minerals and Petroleum Resources are also addressing recommendations from the Productivity Commission's Report: Regulatory Burden on the Upstream Petroleum (Oil and Gas) Sector.
"I am keen to progress reform in this area and capture these potential benefits by moving to a single national offshore regulator for petroleum, minerals and greenhouse gas storage by 1 January 2012", he said.
The Offshore Petroleum Regulatory Inquiry reports: Better Practice and the Effectiveness of NOPSA and Marine Issues can be downloaded from www.ret.gov.au/offshorepetroleumsafety.