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Insidious Power Grab by the Gas Industry: Peak Environmental Bodies in Canberra to Oppose Offshore Petroleum Bill

Australia’s peak state and territory environmental bodies joined forces today at Parliament House to urge the Albanese government to withdraw an amendment to Australia’s offshore gas legislation that would displace the role of the Environment Minister, dramatically weakening oversight and accountability, and accord broad new powers to the Resources Minister.

Amendments to the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Legislation Amendment (Safety and Other Measures) Bill 2024 would effectively grant the offshore oil and gas industry a free pass from national environmental laws. 

Conservation Councils held a press conference with members of the parliamentary crossbench today, calling for the amendment to be scrapped, and for the Environment Minister to retain oversight of offshore oil and gas assessment and regulation.

They warned that the bill could pave the way to diminished rights to consultation for the community, First Nations people, and environment groups, as well as reducing environmental protections and oversight of the hazardous offshore oil and gas industry.  

Jess Beckerling, Executive Director of The Conservation Council of Western Australia, said:

“This Bill is an insidious power-grab by the gas industry” 

“There is no justification for granting a special carve-out for the climate-wrecking offshore oil and gas industry from national environmental laws."

“It is clear that the oil and gas industry has been pushing hard for special deals, and it is incumbent on the Albanese Government to hold firm and not buckle to industry pressure."
“This change also threatens the rights of people to be consulted on offshore oil and gas projects. It would be deeply shameful if the Albanese government diminishes the rights to consultation, especially for First Nations people.”

 Dave Copeman, Director of the Queensland Conservation Council, said:

 “We want an Environment Minister and their Department making decisions on the environmental and climate impacts of offshore oil and gas."

 Kirsty Howey, Executive Director of the Environment Centre NT, said:

 “The oil and gas industry is trying to rip up our federal environment laws, and putting at risk the rights of First Nations communities.”

 “This is a climate crisis, and it is scandalous that the Australian Government is considering making special rules to suit one of the most polluting industries in the world.”

Jacqui Mumford, Nature Conservation Council of NSW said:

“The Bill is the result of sustained lobbying from the offshore gas industry to weaken public consultation requirements to speed up the federal assessment process. It should be scrapped.” 

Jono La Nauze, CEO of Environment Victoria said: 

“The Bill gives preferential treatment to offshore oil and gas projects, enabling the Resources Minister to change offshore Environment Regulations without needing the endorsement of the Environment Minister, as required by the current regulatory framework."



MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost nonprofit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. For more information, visit:

CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please call 0412 272 570

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