Legislation & Compliance

Onshore geothermal and petroleum exploration and development are administered by the DMITE Energy Resources Division under the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000.

The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 was proclaimed on 1 October 2009. This Act amends the repealed Petroleum Act 2000 which was proclaimed on 25 September 2000 to replace the Petroleum Act 1940.The main features of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 are:

  • a co-regulatory regime focusing on achievement of environmental, public safety and resource management objectives, and reduced compliance costs (this is strongly supported by both industry and community interest groups)
  • licence allocation and management mechanisms to facilitate competition in line with competition policy principles
  • rights of third party access to licensed pipelines (where not covered by the national access regime), to depleted reservoirs (for gas storage purposes), and to pipeline easements
  • public consultation processes with regard to establishment of environmental objectives and for significant proposed activities (consistent with provisions of the Development Act 1993)
  • minimal risk to government for liabilities arising from the activities of the industry
  • a fee structure designed to encourage the industry to adopt management systems to undertake activities
  • an effective and expeditious geothermal regulatory and approvals framework.
  • flexibility in the types of licences that can be granted.
  • an effective means for ensuring that security of production and supply of natural gas is maintained at a prudent level.
  • effective public reporting to provide stakeholders with sufficient informaion on industry performance and government decision making.
  • a flexible regulatory approach which allows the selection of the most appropriate level of regulatory intervention and enforcement in order to ensure compliance with the regulatory objectives

Since August 2004, over the counter applications for geothermal exploration licences (GELs) can be accepted over the entire state, except over current GELs or lands excluded for exploration (eg certain parks).

The Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 has a number of aspects that are considered innovative and without precedent in other Australian legislation. The Act is therefore subject to regular review to ensure that the legislation is achieving its intended objectives. The most recent review was inititated in 2005 and involved an extensive stakeholder engagement process. Amendments resulting from this review were made in 2009. Further details of the amendments made are available on the Department of State Development Petroleum website.

You can read the complete copy of the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 and the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Regulations 2013 or email the Energy Resources Division to obtain a copy.