Communique 12 - June 2020

The twelfth and final meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel (SAP) for the Victorian Gas Program's (VGP) Onshore Conventional Gas Studies was an online gathering on Thursday, 11 June 2020.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Resources, Agriculture and Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes.

The Minister took the opportunity to congratulate the Panel on its oversight of the Victorian Gas Program’s scientific studies into onshore conventional gas over the past three years. She also thanked panel members for their vital role in linking the diverse groups of stakeholders interested in conventional gas with the scientific evidence that had been collected.

Minister Symes reiterated the Government’s intention for an orderly restart of onshore conventional gas exploration and development, and for the legislated fracking ban to be enshrined in Victoria’s Constitution.

SAP members were also briefed on the Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2020, which was before Parliament.  Once passed, the new legislation:

  • provides for the restart of on-ground petroleum exploration and production activities under the Petroleum Act on 1 July 2021
  • requires increased consultation with the Victorian community at various decision-making points under the Petroleum Act
  • requires decision-makers under the Petroleum Act to consider additional social, economic and environmental factors
  • enables the publication of information about certain outcomes under the Petroleum Act.

The Panel noted that planning work had begun to remake the Petroleum Regulations 2010, which need to be replaced by 24 May 2021. The regulations will establish specific details that give effect to the Petroleum Act objectives, and new obligations included in the Amendment Bill.  Public consultation on the draft Petroleum Regulations and a Regulatory Impact Statement will be undertaken to support this process, early in 2021.

The Panel was also briefed on the publication of the VGP’s final technical reports and the continuing engagement with regional councils, stakeholders and community groups to explain the detailed findings of the scientific studies and next steps in the lead up to the restart of onshore conventional gas development.

Panel members will also review the VGP’s final progress report that is currently in development.

In accordance with the Terms of Reference of the SAP, the Panel finishes on 30 June 2020, and this is the final communique from the Panel.

PS. The Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 passed the Victorian Parliament on 16 June 2020.

Page last updated: 24 July 2020