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GREENHOUSE GAS GEOLOGICAL SEQUESTRATION BILL 2008

            Greenhouse Gas Geological
             Sequestration Bill 2008

                         Introduction Print

               EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM


                                  General
The injection and permanent storage of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gas substances in underground geological formations is currently not
specifically regulated in Victoria. The Greenhouse Gas Geological
Sequestration Bill seeks to facilitate and regulate the large scale commercial
and sustainable injection and permanent storage of greenhouse gas substances
in onshore Victoria as part of Victoria's commitment to the reduction of
atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions. The Bill seeks to provide certainty
for investors with respect to their legal rights and obligations; certainty for
other potentially affected interest holders and to provide the community with
confidence that injection and storage operations will be undertaken in a
manner which minimises risks to public health and the environment.
The Bill is based on existing regulatory frameworks for petroleum operations
under the Petroleum Act 1998 and geothermal operations under the
Geothermal Energy Resources Act 2005.

                               Clause Notes

                       PART 1--PRELIMINARY

             Division 1--Introduction and interpretation
Clause 1    sets out the main purpose of the Bill.

Clause 2    provides for the commencement of the various sections of the
            Act on a day or days to be proclaimed, and for the
            commencement of a provision of the Bill that has not come into
            operation by 1 January 2010, to come into operation on that day.
            The effect of this clause is that all provisions in the Bill must
            come into operation in its entirety on a day no later than
            1 January 2010. A forced commencement of 1 January 2010 is
            necessary given that the development of regulations and other
            supporting instruments underpinning this Bill will need to be

561274                                 1      BILL LA INTRODUCTION 10/9/2008

 


 

consistent, to the extent practicable, with regulations and other supporting instruments currently being developed in other Australian jurisdictions to enable greenhouse gas injection and storage. Clause 3 defines various words and expressions contained in the Bill including-- community which includes native title holders and persons who may hold native title land; environment which includes water; greenhouse gas sequestration operation which means any activity relating to the exploration for underground geological formations suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance, or any activity relating to the injection and monitoring of a greenhouse gas substance; greenhouse gas substance which means carbon dioxide in gaseous or liquid state or a prescribed greenhouse gas, including a mixture of carbon dioxide and prescribed greenhouse gas substances in gaseous or liquid state, or one or more incidental greenhouse gas-related substances or prescribed detection agents. For the purposes of the Bill, a greenhouse gas substance is a substance that is made up overwhelmingly of either or both carbon dioxide and/or a prescribed greenhouse gas; public interest which means a consideration of any of the following: government policy, employment creation, social impacts, the overall environmental benefit for the State of Victoria and Australia in both the short-term and long-term, impacts on aesthetic, amenity or cultural values; resource authority which means an authority, such as a licence or permit, granted under the Extractive Industries Development Act 1995, Geothermal Energy Resources Act 2005, Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990, Petroleum Act 1998 or the Water Act 1989; stratum of land which means a part of land consisting of a space that lies below, on or above the surface of the land or partly below and partly above the surface of the land, the whole of which has a measurable dimensions; 2

 


 

underground geological storage formation which includes any seal or reservoir of a geological formation, and any associated geological attributes or features of a geological formation, such as a depleted oil or gas field or a deep saline aquifer. Clause 4 defines greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration to be the carrying out of one or more of the activities listed in the clause. Clause 5 defines greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring as being constituted by each of the activities listed in the clause. Clause 6 defines the meaning of a serious situation in relation to an underground geological storage formation, as being constituted by any of the occurrences in the clause. Division 2--Objectives and principles Clause 7 sets out the objectives of the Bill which are to encourage and promote greenhouse gas sequestration operations for the benefit of all Victorians. Clause 8 provides for principles of sustainable development which a decision maker should have regard to, when making a decision under, or in administering the Act, including the "precautionary principle". The "precautionary principle" provides that where there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage, a lack of full scientific certainty does not constitute a reason for postponing measures to address that risk. Division 3--Application of Act Clause 9 provides that where a provision in the Bill covers a matter provided for in the Dangerous Goods Act 1985, the Environment Protection Act 1970, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 or the Water Act 1989, that other provision will apply in addition to the provision in the Bill. The clause also provides that where there is an inconsistency between the provisions, the provision in the other Act prevails to the extent of that inconsistency. Clause 10 provides that nothing in the Bill affects the operation of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. Clause 11 provides that the Bill does not apply to an underground geological storage formation that is within the area defined as the adjacent area in the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982. 3

 


 

Clause 12 enables the Minister to declare any land or class of land as not available for greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration or greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring. Clause 13 provides that the Bill binds the Crown. PART 2--OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF GREENHOUSE GAS SUBSTANCES AND UNDERGROUND GEOLOGICAL STORAGE FORMATIONS Clause 14 provides that the Crown owns all underground geological storage formations 15.24 metres below the surface of any land in Victoria, irrespective of any prior alienation of Crown land and that the Crown is not liable to pay any compensation in respect of a loss resulting from the operation of this clause. Clause 15 provides that the Crown retains all rights in respect of any underground geological storage formation below the surface of the land in Victoria, unless otherwise stated in the document that confers the tenure of that land. Clause 16 provides that on surrender or cancellation of an injection and monitoring licence the Crown becomes the owner of the substance that has been injected. Clause 17 makes it an offence for a person to undertake greenhouse gas sequestration exploration activities in Victoria unless authorised or permitted under the Bill. Clause 18 makes it an offence for a person to undertake greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring activities in Victoria unless authorised or permitted under the Bill. PART 3--GREENHOUSE GAS SEQUESTRATION EXPLORATION PERMITS Division 1--Rights and obligations Clause 19 provides that an exploration permit authorises the carrying out of greenhouse gas sequestration exploration and anything necessary or incidental to that purpose in the permit area. The clause also provides that if the holder of an exploration permit discovers an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be suitable for the storage of a greenhouse gas substance, the holder has the right to apply for an injection and monitoring licence or a greenhouse gas sequestration retention lease. 4

 


 

Clause 20 prohibits the holder of an exploration permit from extracting any resource that is discovered while conducting greenhouse gas sequestration exploration activities under that permit. Clause 21 provides for the key objects of a work program for an exploration permit, in addition to those set out in clause 148. Division 2--Procedure for obtaining permits Clause 22 provides for the Minister responsible for the Bill to invite applications for an exploration permit. The clause also provides for the Minister to specify in the invitation, the chief factors he or she will consider in assessing the application, as well as a date by which applications must be made. Clause 23 sets out the details that an applicant for an exploration permit must supply with that application, including the proposed work program and details of the applicant's technical expertise and financial capacity available for the proposed activities. Clause 24 provides chief factors additional to those chief factors in clause 22(2), which the Minister must take into account in determining which applicant for an exploration permit is to be granted the permit where there are competing applications in respect of an area. Clause 25 provides that the Minister may grant or refuse to grant an exploration permit, and that the Minister must give notice to every unsuccessful applicant for an exploration permit, or notice to all applicants if the Minister decides not to grant a permit to any of the applicants. Clause 26 provides that the Minister may decide to make a new grant of an exploration permit to any other applicant if a successful applicant states that it does not intend to accept the grant. Clause 27 sets out the procedure for inviting further applications if the initial invitation does not result in the granting of a permit. The clause provides that if competing bids are received under this clause, the Minister must consider those bids in the order in which they were received. Clause 28 requires that the area to which a permit applies must be a continuous parcel of land and that no part of the area to which the permit applies may fall within an area that is already the subject of an exploration permit. 5

 


 

Clause 29 provides that a permit may be granted for a particular stratum of land or may be granted without being limited to a particular stratum of land if the Minister determines that it is in the public interest to do so. This clause seeks to provide appropriate flexibility to enable the best use of an underground geological formation. Clause 30 provides that an exploration permit is granted for a period of 5 years, unless cancelled or surrendered or the Bill provides otherwise. Division 3--Renewals Clause 31 provides that an exploration permit may be extended for a further 5 year period from the date of expiry, unless it is cancelled or surrendered or unless the Bill provides otherwise. A permit under this clause can be renewed once. Clause 32 provides that an application for renewal must be given to the Minister at least 90 days before the permit is due to expire. The Minister may consider a later application on the payment of a late fee, but must not consider an application lodged after the permit has expired. Clause 33 provides that the Minister must renew an exploration permit if the holder of the permit has met the requirements in the clause which include lodging an application in the manner and form prescribed, the permit holder has complied with the conditions of the permit and all applicable laws and the Minister is satisfied of the work program presented for renewal. The clause also provides that the Minister may, notwithstanding those requirements, renew a permit if he or she is satisfied that there are circumstances justifying such renewal. Clause 34 provides that the Minister must not renew an exploration permit if the key objects of the work program in respect of that permit have not been achieved, unless the Minister is satisfied that the failure resulted from events that were beyond the control of the permit holder. Clause 35 provides that the Minister, in renewing an exploration permit, may reduce the area to which a permit applies if the holder of the permit nominates an area the holder wishes to relinquish or the Minister determines that it is in the public interest to do so. 6

 


 

Clause 36 provides that if an exploration permit is renewed, the permit holder may apply to the Minister for permission to vary the work program, on renewal of that permit. Permission to vary the work program may be granted if the Minister determines that such a variation will improve the work program. Division 4--Injection testing plans Clause 37 requires the holder of an exploration permit to prepare an injection testing plan in order to inject a gas or fluid into an underground geological storage formation for the purpose of testing the behaviour of the substance injected and whether the geological formation is geologically suitable for injection and permanent storage of greenhouse gas substances. The clause provides that an injection testing plan forms part of the operation plan and must be lodged with the operation plan when applying for a permit. Clause 38 sets out the information an exploration permit holder must include in an injection testing plan, including information about where and how the testing will be conducted, details of the liquid or gas to be injected, details about how any risks to public health or the environment will be prevented and details about the potential leakage and migration path of an injected substance, including the preparation of a monitoring and verification plan, and certain other plans as specified in the clause. Clause 39 provides that an injection and testing plan must be approved before injection testing can start. Clause 40 provides that the Minister may only approve an injection testing plan if he or she is satisfied that the proposed activities under such a plan will not present a risk to public health or the environment, nor will they present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the permit area. The clause allows the Minister to impose any conditions that he or she considers necessary. Clause 41 requires that for the purpose of determining whether a proposed injection testing plan will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must refer an injection testing plan to the Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Water Act 1989, as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These referral authorities may make binding recommendations, in accordance with the procedures in the clause, as to whether or not a plan should be approved based on whether or not the proposed activities present a risk to the environment. 7

 


 

Clause 42 provides that if the Minister is of the opinion that proposed activities under an injection testing plan will pose a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the permit area but will not present a risk to public health or the environment, the Minister may nevertheless approve such a plan if the holder of the permit has obtained the consent of the holder of a resource authority in the permit area or the Minister deems approval of the injection testing plan is in the public interest. Clause 43 requires that if injection testing work will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the permit area, the holder of the permit must take reasonable steps to obtain the consent of the holder of any resource authority for resources likely to be contaminated or sterilised, in that permit area. Clause 44 enables the Minister to refer an injection testing plan to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation as to whether or not the plan should be approved. The clause requires that the Minister must make such a referral before making a determination as to whether or not an approval of an injection testing plan is in the public interest. Clause 45 enables the Minister to appoint a panel of persons to consider applications for approval of an injection testing plan. The clause contains other provisions relevant to the activities and functioning of this panel such as requirements relating to who may be appointed and reporting of findings to the Minister. Clause 46 provides that where an application for approval of an injection testing plan is not subject to an Environmental Effects Statement under the Environment Effects Act 1978, the Minister must cause a notice to be published in a newspaper that circulates generally throughout Victoria detailing the information specified in the clause. The Minister must consider any written comment received in response to the notice before approving an injection testing plan. If the Minister receives a request from a person or body to be notified of the approval decision, the Minister must notify that person or body directly or their representative or by publishing a notice of such decision in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria. Clause 47 provides for the Minister to hold a public conference inviting all or any of the interested parties to a conference, if he or she determines that such a conference will assist in resolution of any matter under consideration by him or her. 8

 


 

Clause 48 provides that an exploration permit holder must not carry out any activity under an approved injection testing plan, unless they have entered into a compensation agreement with the holder of a resource authority in the permit area for a resource that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised by such activity or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has determined an amount for compensation. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal may only issue a determination if is satisfied that the parties have been unable to settle the claim through conciliation. Clause 49 sets out the damages or losses for which compensation is payable by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to the holder of a resource authority. Clause 50 requires that an exploration permit holder must ensure that injection testing is carried out in accordance with an approved injection testing plan and risk management plan and monitoring and verification plan, as part of the injection testing plan, and any conditions attached to approval of the injection testing plan. Clause 51 enables the Minister, after consultation with the holder of an exploration permit, to require the permit holder to vary the injection testing plan, including the risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan applying to that permit. Clause 52 requires the Minister to submit a proposed variation under clause 51 to the respective Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970, the Water Act 1989 as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These persons may make binding recommendations relating to the proposed variation. Clause 53 enables the Environment Protection Authority after consultation with the holder of an exploration permit and the Minister to require the holder of a permit to vary the monitoring and verification plan, submitted as part of the injection testing plan. Clause 54 provides that the holder of an exploration permit may apply to the Minister for variation of an injection testing plan, including any risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of that plan. The permit holder must submit an assessment of the risks associated with the proposed variation on making the application for variation. An application to vary an injection testing plan is subject to the requirements and processes set out in clauses 39-47. 9

 


 

Clause 55 places a condition on an exploration permit for which there is an approved injection testing plan, that the holder of the permit provide a report to the Minister on the outcome of all monitoring and verification activities carried out under the permit. Division 5--Discovery of underground storage formation Clause 56 provides that the holder of an exploration permit must immediately notify the Minister of the discovery of an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance. The clause requires that the permit holder provide written details of the discovery within 3 days of such discovery. Clause 57 enables the Minister, notwithstanding clause 56, to give directions if he or she is reasonably satisfied that the exploration permit holder has discovered an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance. The Minister may require the permit holder to apply for a retention lease or injection and monitoring licence in respect of that area and such a requirement must be made in writing and must allow at least 90 days for the permit holder to make such an application. The clause enables the Minister to cancel a permit if a permit holder fails to comply with the requirements of the clause. PART 4--GREENHOUSE GAS SEQUESTRATION FORMATION RETENTION LEASES Clause 58 sets out the purpose of a retention lease as enabling the holder of an exploration permit to retain the right to an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance, but is not yet commercially viable to develop under an injection and monitoring licence, but which might become viable to develop within 15 years. Clause 59 sets out the rights which a retention lease confers on the holder of the lease, subject to and in accordance with any conditions placed on the lease by the Minister. These rights include carrying out greenhouse gas sequestration exploration activities and activities related to that purpose, as well as the right to apply for an injection and monitoring licence. 10

 


 

Clause 60 enables the holder of an exploration permit to apply for the grant of a retention lease in respect of the area covered by the permit. The application must be made at least 90 days before the expiry of the permit or at a later stage, before the expiry of that permit, upon the payment of any late fee as required. Clause 61 specifies details that must be submitted by an applicant for a retention lease relating to the permit area, including the geological suitability of the underground storage formation and the commercial viability of injection and permanent storage of the identified greenhouse gas substance. Clause 62 provides that the Minister may grant or refuse to grant a retention lease. The Minister must grant a retention lease if the Minister is satisfied of the factors contained in the clause, which includes being satisfied that the applicant has discovered an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for injection and permanent storage operations and that such stored greenhouse gas substances are likely to be contained within that storage formation. The Minister must also be satisfied that at the time of application for the lease, the applicant did not have access to a commercially viable volume of greenhouse gas substance, but was likely to have access to such a volume within the next 15 years. The Minister must refuse to grant a lease if he or she is not satisfied of those factors. Clause 63 sets out requirements, additional to clause 148, that a proposed work program must include, which includes how the applicant intends to resolve any uncertainty in relation to the suitability of the underground geological storage formation for injection and monitoring operations. Clause 64 specifies the area in respect of which the Minister may grant a retention lease and allows the Minister to grant a retention lease for all or part of the area for which the lease was sought. Clause 65 provides that a retention lease may be granted in respect to a stratum of land, or without being limited to a particular stratum. The Minister may only grant a lease in respect of a stratum of land if he or she determines that it is in the public interest. Clause 66 provides that a retention lease can be granted for a period of time not exceeding 5 years and that the lease expires on the date specified in the lease unless cancelled or surrendered. 11

 


 

Clause 67 provides for the renewal of a retention lease for a further period of 5 years and also provides that one subsequent renewal for 5 years may be sought, to apply from the date of the expiry of the renewed lease. The effect of this clause when read with clause 66 is that the maximum period of time a retention lease can be held is 15 years. Clause 68 sets out the procedure for the Minister to refuse to grant a retention lease, as well as the requirements on the Minister in respect of a refusal. The requirements include the Minister providing written notice of intention to refuse the grant, the details required in such notice and that the Minister must consider any submissions on that notice prior to refusing the grant. Clause 69 provides for the Minister to request that the holder of a retention lease re-evaluate the commercial viability of injecting and permanently storing a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the lease area, and that the holder of the lease provide the results in writing to the Minister. Clause 70 provides for the Minister, if he or she is of the opinion after receiving a report under clause 60, that the permanent storage of a greenhouse gas in an underground geological storage formation is commercially viable, to give a direction for the lease holder to apply for an injection and monitoring licence. The clause sets out the procedure for the Minister to follow in giving such a direction and provides for the Minister to cancel the lease should the holder of the lease not comply with the direction. PART 5--GREENHOUSE GAS SUBSTANCE INJECTION AND MONITORING LICENCE Division 1--Rights conferred by licence Clause 71 sets out the rights that are conferred by an injection and monitoring licence and the activities that can be carried out by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence including the right to carry out greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring operations, as well as greenhouse gas sequestration exploration operations and any activities necessary or incidental to those purposes. 12

 


 

Division 2--Application for licence by holders of permits or leases Clause 72 provides for the holder of an exploration permit or retention lease to apply for an injection and monitoring licence. Clause 73 sets out the details that must be included in an application for an injection and monitoring licence. The clause also requires that a proposed work program submitted under clause 122 of the Bill must specify a commencement date for commencement of commercial scale injection of a greenhouse gas substance into an underground geological storage formation Division 3--Application for licence under tender process Clause 74 provides for the Minister to invite applications for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence in respect of an area, which in the opinion of the Minister, contains an underground geological storage formation that is likely to be geologically suitable for the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance. Clause 75 requires that in addition to complying with clause 147, the applicant for an injection and monitoring licence must submit details specified in the clause. The clause also provides that an applicant may be required to pay a deposit of 10% of the amount they are willing to pay for the grant of a licence, as applicable. Clause 76 provides for the Minister to decide between competing applications for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence. The Minister must make such a determination based on the chief factors specified in the invitation. The Minister may refuse to grant a licence if he or she deems that an application is deficient, defective or not in the public interest. Clause 77 requires the Minister to give written notice to unsuccessful applicants who applied for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence. Clause 78 provides that the Minister must refund any deposit paid by an applicant who is not granted an injection and monitoring licence, and may refund the deposit of an applicant who is granted a licence but who does not accept the grant. Clause 79 provides that if an applicant who is granted an injection and monitoring licence does not accept the grant, the Minister may grant the licence to any other applicant. 13

 


 

Clause 80 provides for the Minister to extend the period within which an applicant is required to pay the amount for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence after notice has been given of the grant of the licence. Clause 81 requires the applicant, subject to clause 80, to pay the amount that it was willing to pay for the grant of an injection and monitoring licence before the Minister issues the licence. Division 4--General provisions Clause 82 sets out the chief factors, which the Minister must consider, when determining whether to grant an injection and monitoring licence under Division 2 or 3, and includes consideration of the merits of the work program, the likelihood that the work program will be carried out, the applicant's assessment of the suitability of the geological storage formation, likelihood that the injected greenhouse gas substance will be permanently contained in the licence area and any other factors specified in an invitation. Clause 83 provides that the Minister must be satisfied of certain matters before granting an injection and monitoring licence including that the applicant must have access to a commercially viable volume of greenhouse gas substance and the suitability of the respective storage formation and its ability to permanently contain the injected greenhouse gas substance. Clause 84 sets out restrictions on the area to which an injection and monitoring licence may be granted including considerations relating to the identified underground geological storage formation the subject of the application, any other underground geological storage formations that could be used in the future and the inclusion of allowances for the potential migration of an injected greenhouse gas substance. Clause 85 provides for an injection and monitoring licence to be granted for a stratum of land or without being limited to a particular stratum, providing the Minister is of the opinion that such a grant is in the public interest. Clause 86 provides for the Minister to grant an injection and monitoring licence in respect of a specified volume of greenhouse gas substance as well as the things the Minister must have regard to when specifying the volume that may be injected and permanently stored under that licence. The considerations include the estimated storage capacity of the underground geological storage formation. The clause prevents the Minister from specifying a volume of substance that is larger than is 14

 


 

identified in the applicant's approved injection and monitoring plan. Clause 87 provides for the Minister to grant a further injection and monitoring licence in respect of land for which the holder of an injection and monitoring licence has surrendered the right to inject a greenhouse gas substance. Clause 88 provides that an injection and monitoring licence is in force until it is surrendered or cancelled or unless otherwise provided for in the Bill. Division 5--Injection of greenhouse gas substance Clause 89 provides for the Minister to give a direction to the holder of an injection and monitoring licence if the injection of a greenhouse gas substance is not to the Minister's satisfaction. Clause 90 provides that a direction by the Minister under clause 89 must be given in writing. Clause 91 requires the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to comply with a direction given by the Minister under this division. Clause 92 sets out various requirements that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence must comply with on completion of injection activities under that licence including notifying the Minister in writing that injection activities have been completed and removing all infrastructure associated with the injection activities and rehabilitating the site where injection took place. Division 6--Injection and monitoring plan Clause 93 provides that an injection and monitoring plan is a plan that sets out how injection and monitoring operations will be conducted under an injection and monitoring licence. An injection and monitoring plan must be taken to form part of the operation plan. Clause 94 sets out what must be contained in an injection and monitoring plan including such details as the activities proposed to be carried out, the physical, hydrological, geological, chemical and biological conditions of the land in the licence area, a description of the proposed injection and monitoring techniques and an assessment of potential leakage and migration path of a stored substance and the risks of such leakage on public health or the environment, a risk management plan, a monitoring and verification plan and an estimate cost of carrying out monitoring 15

 


 

and verification activities after surrender of the injection and monitoring licence. Clause 95 provides that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence must not carry out any injection or monitoring activities in the licence area unless the Minister has approved the licence holder's injection and monitoring plan for that area. Clause 96 provides the process which the Minister must follow when deciding on the approval of an injection and monitoring plan, including the factors the Minister must be satisfied of before approving the plan. In particular, this clause provides that the Minister must not approve an injection and monitoring plan unless satisfied that the proposed activities will not present a risk to public health or the environment, nor will they present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the licence area. The clause also provides for the Minister to approve an injection and monitoring plan subject to conditions that he or she considers necessary, as well as providing for the Minister to refer a plan to an independent panel as provided for in clause 100. Clause 97 requires that for the purpose of determining whether a proposed injection and monitoring plan will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must refer the injection and monitoring plan to the Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Water Act 1989, as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These referral authorities may make binding recommendations, in accordance with the procedures in the clause, as to whether or not the plan should be approved based on whether or not the proposed activities present a risk to the environment. Clause 98 provides that if the Minister is of the opinion that the proposed injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the permit area, but will not present a risk to public health or the environment, the Minister may nevertheless approve the plan if the licence holder has obtained the consent of the holder of the resource authority in the licence area or if the Minister deems that it is in the public interest to do so. Clause 99 requires that if proposed injection and monitoring activities will present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the licence area, the licence holder must take all reasonable steps to obtain the consent from the holder of any resource authority for resources likely to be at significant risk of contamination or sterilisation in that licence area. 16

 


 

Clause 100 enables the Minister to refer an injection and monitoring plan to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation as to whether or not the plan should be approved. The clause requires the Minister to make such a referral before making a determination as to whether or not an approval of an injection and monitoring plan is in the public interest. Clause 101 enables the Minister to appoint a panel of persons to consider applications for approval of an injection and monitoring plan. Similarly to clause 45, this clause contains other provisions relevant to the activities and functioning of this panel. Clause 102 provides that where an application for approval of an injection and monitoring plan is not subject to an Environmental Effects Statement under the Environment Effects Act 1978, the Minister must cause a notice to be published in a newspaper that circulates generally throughout Victoria detailing the information specified in the clause. The Minister must consider any written comment received in response to the notice before approving an injection and monitoring plan. If the Minister receives a request from a person or body to be notified of the approval decision, the Minister must notify that person or body directly or their representative or by publishing a notice of such decision in a newspaper circulating generally throughout Victoria. Clause 103 provides for the Minister to hold a public conference inviting all or any of the interested parties to a conference, if he or she determines that such a conference will assist in resolution of any matter under consideration by him or her. Clause 104 provides that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence must not carry out any activity under an approved injection and monitoring plan, unless the licence holder has entered into a compensation agreement with the holder of a resource authority in the licence area for a resource that is likely to be contaminated or sterilised by such activity or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has determined an amount for compensation. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal may only issue a determination if is satisfied that the parties have been unable to settle the claim through conciliation. Clause 105 sets out the damages or losses for which compensation is payable for by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to the resource authority holder. 17

 


 

Clause 106 requires that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence must ensure that greenhouse gas injection and monitoring is carried out in accordance with the approved injection and monitoring plan, risk management plan and monitoring and verification plan, prepared as part of the injection and monitoring plan, and any conditions attached to approval of the injection and monitoring plan. Clause 107 enables the Minister, after consultation with the holder of an injection and monitoring licence, to require the licence holder to vary the injection and monitoring plan, including the risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan applying to that licence. Clause 108 requires the Minister to submit a proposed variation under clause 107 to the respective Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970, the Water Act 1989 as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These persons may make binding recommendations relating to the proposed variation. Clause 109 enables the Environment Protection Authority after consultation with the holder of an injection and monitoring licence and the Minister to require the holder of a licence to vary the monitoring and verification plan, submitted as part of the injection and monitoring plan. Clause 110 provides that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence may apply to the Minister for variation of an injection and monitoring plan, including any risk management plan or monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of that plan. The licence holder must submit an assessment of the risks associated with the proposed variation on making the application for variation. Division 7--Conditions of greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring licence Clause 111 requires the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to report on the outcome of all monitoring and verification activities carried out under that licence, in accordance with the times specified in the clause. Clause 112 requires the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to pay an annual instalment of the estimated long-term monitoring and verification costs set out in the approved injection and monitoring plan. The clause requires such payment to be paid by the due date. 18

 


 

Division 8--Permanent storage of greenhouse gas substance by a third party Clause 113 permits the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to enter into an agreement with any person for or in relation to the injection and permanent storage of a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the licence area. Clause 114 permits the Minister to give a direction for the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to inject and permanently store a greenhouse gas substance in an underground geological storage formation in the licence area if the Minister is satisfied of certain factors including that the underground geological storage formation has the capacity to store the greenhouse gas substance owned by the applicant and that the underground geological storage formation is geological suitable for the permanent storage of that greenhouse gas substance. Clause 115 requires the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to comply with any direction validly given by the Minister under clause 114. Clause 116 enables the Minister to amend an injection and monitoring licence for the purpose of giving effect to a direction under clause 114. Clause 117 requires the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to submit a revised injection and monitoring plan for approval in accordance with the processes set out in Division 6. Clause 118 provides that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence is not required to inject and permanently store a greenhouse gas substance unless the applicant, under clause 114, has entered into an agreement with the licence holder for compensation, or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has made a determination of the amount of compensation payable to the licence holder. PART 6--UNIT DEVELOPMENT Clause 119 provides for the Minister to require greenhouse gas injection and monitoring licence holders to enter into a cooperative agreement in respect of the injection and storage of a greenhouse gas substance into a geologically suitable underground storage formation, where that formation extends over more than one licence area. The Minister may request such a cooperative agreement in order to enable more effective greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring and to maximise the volume 19

 


 

of substance stored and to minimise the impact of greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring on the environment Clause 120 requires that the Minister, prior to making a requirement under clause 119, must consult with the relevant body responsible for regulating the injection and permanent storage of greenhouse gas substances outside of Victoria, if part of the geological storage formation is outside of Victoria or the Minister believes that part of the formation is outside of Victoria. Clause 121 enables the Minister to amend an injection and monitoring licence for the purpose of giving effect to a cooperative agreement under clause 119 or as a result of a failure of a person to comply with a requirement under clause 119. PART 7--GREENHOUSE GAS INFRASTRUCTURE LINES Clause 122 provides that a greenhouse gas infrastructure line is a pipe or system of pipes for the conveyance of a greenhouse gas substance and which forms part of a greenhouse gas sequestration infrastructure facility. For the purpose of this clause, a greenhouse gas infrastructure facility means a facility capable of enabling the injection of greenhouse gas substances. Clause 123 provides for a greenhouse gas infrastructure line to be exempted by the Minister in writing from the application of the Pipelines Act 2005. The Minister may impose conditions relating to such exemption and may require certain conditions to be met prior to granting such exemption. PART 8--SPECIAL ACCESS AUTHORISATIONS Clause 124 provides for the activities that can be carried out under a special access authorisation. The special access authorisation does not enable greenhouse gas substance injection and monitoring activities within the authorisation area. The primary purpose of this Part is to enable licence holders to undertake activities, including the making of a well for the purpose of monitoring the behaviour of the stored greenhouse gas substance in the licence area and to undertake monitoring and verification activities in areas outside but adjacent to their licence area. A special access authorisation may only be granted to the holder of a permit, lease or licence. Clause 125 provides for the process by which the holder of an exploration permit, retention lease or injection and monitoring licence may apply to the Minister for the grant of a special access authorisation. 20

 


 

Clause 126 provides for the factors the Minister must take into account when determining whether or not to grant a special access authorisation. Clause 127 provides that the Minister must not grant a special access authorisation for an area that is already subject to a permit, lease or licence unless he or she is satisfied of criteria in respect to the impact of the granting of a special access authorisation. The criteria includes that the holder of the permit, lease or licence has consented in writing to the issue of the authorisation in respect of that area. Clause 128 provides that the Minister may make an exemption in respect of the criteria contained in clause 127(2)(c) if the Minister is of the opinion that the likely geological information to be gained from the activities proposed under that authorisation will be of significant benefit to Victoria, and that the Minister notifies the authority holder for the area, allows 28 days for any submissions and considers such submissions in response to that notice. Clause 129 provides that the Minister may vary the area to which a special access authorisation applies when granting the authorisation. Clause 130 provides that the Minister may grant a special access authorisation in respect of an area or any part of an area that is already the subject of an authority under the Bill, including another special access authorisation, an exploration permit, a retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence. Clause 131 sets out the term for which a special access authorisation continues in force, namely that it continues in force for the period of time specified by the regulations unless cancelled or surrendered or otherwise provided for in the Bill. Clause 132 provides for the Minister to extend the term of a special access authorisation on the application of the holder of that authorisation. Clause 133 requires the holder of a special access authorisation to prepare a special access well plan in accordance with the regulations, where the holder proposes to make a well. The special access well plan forms part of the operation plan. The clause also provides for timing in relation to submission of that plan. Clause 134 provides that a special access well plan must be approved before a well can be made in the area. 21

 


 

Clause 135 provides that the Minister may only approve a special access well plan if he or she is satisfied that the proposed activities under such a plan will not present a risk to public health or the environment, nor will they present a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources in the authority area. The clause allows the Minister to impose any conditions that he or she considers necessary. Clause 136 requires that for the purpose of determining whether a special access well plan will present a risk to the environment, the Minister must refer the special access well plan to the Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Water Act 1989, as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These referral authorities may make binding recommendations, in accordance with the procedures in the clause, as to whether or not a plan should be approved based on whether or not the proposed activities present a risk to the environment. Clause 137 provides that if the Minister is of the opinion that proposed activities under a special access well plan will pose a significant risk of contaminating or sterilising other resources within the authority area but will not present a risk to public health or the environment, the Minister may nevertheless approve such a plan if the holder of the permit has obtained the consent of the holder of a resource authority in the permit area or the Minister deems approval of the special access well plan is in the public interest. Clause 138 provides that the holder of a special access authority must take all reasonable steps to ensure that consent from any relevant resource authority holders under clause 187 are obtained. Clause 139 enables the Minister to refer a special access well plan to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation as to whether or not the plan should be approved. The clause requires that the Minister must make such a referral before making a determination as to whether or not an approval of a special access well plan is in the public interest. Clause 140 enables the Minister to appoint a panel of persons to consider applications for the approval of a special access well plan. The clause contains provisions relevant to the activities and functioning of this panel such as requirements relating to who may be appointed and reporting of findings to the Minister. Clause 141 requires that any activity to make a well under a special access authorisation is carried out in accordance with an approved special access well plan. 22

 


 

Clause 142 enables the Minister, after consultation with the holder of the special access authorisation to require the authorisation holder to vary the approved special access well plan. Clause 143 requires the Minister to submit a proposed variation under clause 142 to the respective Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Water Act 1989 as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These persons may make binding recommendations relating to the proposed variation. Clause 144 enables the Environment Protection Authority to, after consultation with the authority holder and the Minister, require the holder of a special access authorisation to vary the monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the special access well plan. Clause 145 provides that the holder of a special access authorisation may apply to the Minister for variation of a special access well plan. Such an application must be made pursuant to clause 135 to 140 and must include an assessment of the risks associated with the requested variation. Clause 146 provides that the holder of an exploration permit or retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence cannot be held liable for the actions of a special access authorisation holder. PART 9--PROVISIONS APPLYING TO AUTHORITIES GENERALLY Division 1--Applications Clause 147 provides for general provisions that apply in relation to the process by which an application for any authority can be made under the Bill. The requirements include lodging an application in the prescribed form and manner, submission of a work program and details on the expected expenditure for each part of the work program, submission of a consultation plan and submission of evidence of ability to comply with the Bill. An applicant for a retention lease who does not intend to conduct any greenhouse gas injection and monitoring activities does not need to submit a work program, but only needs to supply a document proving that intention. Clause 148 describes the purpose of and matters to be included in a work program for an authority under the Bill including an outline and intended extent of the proposed work timelines and any other details required by the regulations. 23

 


 

Clause 149 provides that an application for an authority is not transferable. Clause 150 sets out requirements for the grant of an authority in respect of land for which there is a native title holder. The Minister must not issue an authority unless he or she is satisfied that the relevant procedures under the Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth) have been followed. Clause 151 provides for the continuation of existing authorities until a decision is made on an application for a renewal or grant of another authority under the Bill. Division 2--Community consultation Clause 152 requires the holder of an authority to consult with the community and relevant municipal councils throughout the period of the authority. Clause 153 provides that an applicant for an authority must submit a community consultation plan when applying for the grant of any authority under the Bill for the purpose of showing how the applicant will consult, where the applicant for an authority is not required to prepare an Environment Effects Statement under the Environment Effects Act 1978. The plan must only be submitted after the applicant has consulted with members of the community and relevant municipal councils about the content of the proposed plan. Clause 154 provides for various details and documents that a community consultation plan must contain including general information about the types of activities proposed, information about how any potential adverse impacts on public health and the environment will be managed and details of procedures required to be followed for the activities to be lawful. The plan must also include a statement advising that community members or relevant municipal councils may seek independent legal advice, and setting out current contact information for both the Department and the applicant. Clause 155 requires the Minister, within 21 days of receiving a community consultation plan, to advise an applicant of whether or not that plan is adequate. The clause provides for the applicant to submit a new plan or an amended plan to the Minister for his or her assessment. 24

 


 

Clause 156 requires that if an application for an authority under the Bill is granted, a copy of the community consultation plan must be provided to each relevant municipal council and members of the community that may be affected by the activities proposed under the authority. Division 3--Conditions Clause 157 enables the Minister to subject an authority to any conditions he or she considers appropriate and the Minister may require that such conditions be complied with prior to the grant of an authority. The clause sets out conditions including those relating to a minimum amount to be spent on the activities, concerning protection of public health and the environment, requiring any approvals specified by the Minister, relating to rehabilitation of land affected by the activities and the provision of any other information specified by the Minister. Clause 158 requires the holder of an authority to comply with all applicable laws in carrying out activities under the authority. Clause 159 provides that the Minister may vary conditions placed on an authority unilaterally. The clause sets out the procedure by which the Minister may vary conditions unilaterally, which includes the requirement for the Minister to notify the holder of the authority in writing of his or her intention to vary the conditions, as well as the requirement for the Minister to consider submissions in response to that notice. The clause prevents the Minister from varying conditions on a lease or licence more than once within a five year period of the imposition of the condition or the date of the last variation of that condition. This clause does not provide for variation of an injection testing plan nor an injection and monitoring plan. Clause 160 provides that the holder of an authority may apply to the Minister for his or her consent to vary the conditions placed on an authority. Subclause 2 provides for the Minister to vary any associated condition and is not required to vary a condition in the way that is sought. An applicant may withdraw an application if the Minister indicates that he or she will exercise his or her powers under subclause 2. The Minister may not vary conditions on an application that has been withdrawn. This clause does not provide for variation of an injection testing plan nor an injection and monitoring plan. 25

 


 

Clause 161 enables the Minister to vary the conditions on an authority upon renewal, wholly transferring or consolidating that authority and also provides for the Minister to vary the conditions that apply to the area that is being transferred. This clause does not provide for variation of an injection testing plan nor an injection and monitoring plan. Clause 162 provides for the suspension, by the Minister, of conditions placed on an authority, upon application by the holder of that authority. Clause 163 provides that if the Minister suspends a condition of an authority the Minister may extend the term of the authority by a period not exceeding the period of that suspension. Division 4--Transfers of authorities Clause 164 provides that an authority may be transferred on application to the Minister by the holder of the authority or the person to whom the authority is to be transferred. Clause 165 sets out matters that the Minister must consider in assessing an application to transfer an authority including that the Minister must be of the opinion that the transfer will maintain or increase greenhouse gas sequestration operations in the authority area. The Minister may transfer a retention lease notwithstanding whether such transfer will maintain or increase those operations. The Minister must not approve the transfer of an authority of he or she determines that it is not in the public interest to do so. Clause 166 provides that the execution of a document purporting to transfer an authority creates no interest in the authority. Clause 167 provides for the Minister to approve the transfer of part of an exploration permit or injection and monitoring licence area to another person if the Minister considers it is in the public interest to do so. Such a transfer will result in the issuance of a separate permit or licence to the other person. Division 5--Surrender or cancellation of authorities Clause 168 provides that the holder of an authority may surrender that authority with the consent of the Minister and subject to meeting the requirements in the clause which include that the holder of the authority has complied with all requirements in the Bill and conditions placed on the authority and has plugged off all wells that were made in the area under the authority. 26

 


 

Clause 169 provides for the holder of an authority to apply to the Minister for his or her consent to surrender part of the area in respect of which an authority applies. Clause 170 sets out additional criteria the Minister must consider when deciding to consent to the surrender of an injection and monitoring licence which includes the Minister being satisfied that the injected greenhouse gas substance is behaving and will continue to behave in a predictable manner; and that the licence holder has reduced the risks associated with the permanent storage of that substance to as low as reasonably practicable; and that the stored greenhouse gas will not present a risk to public health or the environment. The clause also requires the holder of the licence to provide information as specified in the clause and has prepared for the Minister's approval, a long-term monitoring and verification plan including the estimated costs of carrying out activities under the plan. Clause 171 provides that where a determination needs to be made as to whether a stored greenhouse gas substance presents a risk to the environment, the Minister must refer an application for consent to surrender to the Ministers responsible for the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Water Act 1989, as well as the Environment Protection Authority. These referral authorities may make binding recommendations regarding that application for consent to surrender, based on an assessment of risks to public health and the environment including the adequacy of the proposed long-term monitoring and verification plan including estimated costs. Clause 172 enables the Minister to refer an application for surrender of an authority to an independent panel or any relevant public authority for a recommendation as to whether or not the application for consent should be approved. Clause 173 enables the Minister to appoint a panel of persons to consider an application for consent to surrender an authority. The clause contains other provisions relevant to the activities and functioning of this panel. Clause 174 provides that if the Minister consents to the surrender of an injection and monitoring licence, the licence holder must pay the remaining cost of carrying out long-term monitoring and verification as estimated in an approved monitoring and verification plan that has not yet been paid in accordance with clause 112. 27

 


 

Clause 175 enables the Minister to cancel an authority on various grounds including non-compliance with the Bill or any conditions imposed on the authority, or where the Minister deems it is in the public interest to cancel the authority. Clause 176 provides additional grounds on which the Minister may cancel an injection and monitoring licence including where, in the Ministers opinion, no greenhouse gas substance is being injected for permanent storage in accordance with the approved work program and the licence holder has no intention to do so in the immediate future. The Minister may also cancel a licence where no greenhouse gas substance injection has occurred under that work program in the past 2 years from the date the Minister intends to cancel the licence. Clause 177 sets out the procedure which the Minister must follow before an authority can be cancelled, including provisions for notice to be given to the holder of the authority and inviting a response to such notice within 30 days of the notice being given. Clause 178 enables the Minister to give directions if an authority expires or is surrendered or cancelled, including a direction to remove all property brought onto the authority area, requiring the holder of the authority to plug or close of wells and making good any damage done in the conduct of operations under that authority. A direction must be given in writing and must specify by when it must be complied with. Division 6--Miscellaneous matters Clause 179 provides for the consolidation of adjoining authorities where the same person holds two or more authorities of the same type and each authority has at least one common boundary with another of the authorities. This Division does not apply to special access authorisations. Clause 180 provides for the Minister to excise an identified area from an authority subject to being satisfied of certain matters including that excision of the identified area will not interfere with the ongoing operations of the holder of the authority. In exercising this power, the Minister must consult with the holder of the authority and may consult with an independent panel or relevant public authority. Clause 181 requires the holder of an authority to report a serious situation that has or may occur in the authority area, which specifically includes the escape of a greenhouse gas substance from an injection and monitoring licence area. 28

 


 

Clause 182 provides for various directions the Minister may give an authority holder, if in the opinion of the Minister, a serious situation has occurred. The direction must be in writing and may include the requirement to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a greenhouse gas substance is injected into the underground geological storage formation in the manner specified in the direction. Clause 183 makes it an offence to not comply with a direction validly given under clause 182. Clause 184 provides that the Minister must publish notice in the Government Gazette of any exploration permit or injection and monitoring licence granted within 14 days of that event occurring, in accordance with the reporting requirements in the clause. Clause 185 provides that the Minister may vary the details of an authority at any time, except the expiry date of that authority. Clause 186 provides for the Minister to grant an authority to a person where a court or tribunal has found an authority to be wholly or partly invalid and where the invalidity stems from circumstances that were beyond the control of the person. Clause 187 provides that, for certain purposes, the holder of an authority is the occupier of the part of any premises on which operations are carried out under the authority. The clause provides for the occupier's release from certain liabilities in specific circumstances. PART 10--PLANNING MATTERS Clause 188 defines the term planning scheme as a scheme approved under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Clause 189 provides that exploration under an exploration permit overrides requirements under a planning scheme in respect of the area covered by the exploration permit. Clause 190 provides that the holder of an injection and monitoring licence may be granted a permit under a planning scheme to carry out operations in the licence area notwithstanding that the planning scheme may prohibit such activities. Clause 191 provides that where the holder of an injection and monitoring licence is required to prepare an Environment Effects Statement, under the Environment Effects Act 1978, and an assessment of that statement by the Minister administering the Environment Effects Act 1978 has been provided to the Minister and the 29

 


 

Minister has authorised in writing the carrying out of that activity, the holder of the authority is not required to obtain a planning scheme permit before carrying out such greenhouse gas injection and monitoring activities authorised by the licence. PART 11--CONSENT REQUIREMENTS BEFORE OPERATIONS ALLOWED ON LAND Division 1--Wilderness Crown land Clause 192 provides that a person must not carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operations on wilderness crown land. Division 2--Operations requiring prior consent Clause 193 requires that a person must seek the consent of the Minister to carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operations on any land. The granting of consent under this clause by the Minister does not relieve the holder of the requirement to obtain any other required consent, nor from any other liability for failure to obtain necessary consents, nor from any requirement under the Bill or any other Act, nor from liability that stems from failure to comply with those requirements. Clause 194 provides that a person must seek the written consent of the Minister to carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operation on any land specified in Schedule 3 of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990. Clause 195 provides that a person must seek the consent of the water authority, as defined in the clause before carrying out any greenhouse gas sequestration operation on land that is vested in, owned, managed or controlled by a water authority. The clause defines water authority to be a person holding a water licence or water and sewerage licence under the Water and Industry Act 1994 or an Authority that has a water district or a sewerage district under the Water Act 1989. Clause 196 provides for various matters relating to the giving of consent including that the person or body from which consent is sought must not unreasonably withhold such consent and may impose conditions on which consent is based. Consent must be given within 28 days of being sought failing which, it is deemed to be given, except in the case of a native title holder. Clause 197 provides that a person may apply for a review of a decision to refuse consent or to impose a condition on such consent. 30

 


 

Division 3--Operations requiring notice Clause 198 provides that a person may not carry out significant operations on unrestricted Crown land without the consent of the Minister. Clause 199 requires a person to give written notice to the owner, occupier or person or body responsible for the management of land prior to commencing operations. PART 12--COMPENSATION Clause 200 requires the consent of, or a compensation agreement to be entered into with, the owners or occupiers of private land before starting operations on that land. Clause 201 outlines those activities for which compensation may be payable to the owners and occupiers of private or native title land, including compensation for any loss or damage that has been or will be sustain in relation to the activities carried out as a consequence of a greenhouse gas sequestration operation. Compensation under this clause is not payable in respect of land that became private land after greenhouse gas sequestration operations had already commenced. Clause 202 places a limit on the total amount of compensation that is payable under Clause 201(1). Clause 203 provides that compensation is not payable for the value of any underground geological storage formation. Clause 204 provides that compensation is payable to the Crown by a proponent for an authority in respect of any loss or damages that has occurred or will occur as a consequence of the carrying out of greenhouse gas sequestration operations under that authority. Clause 205 provides that there is a time limit on claims for compensation under clause 201. Clause 206 provides for the settling of disputes in respect to private or native title land by application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal or referral of a disputed claim to the Supreme Court for determination. Clause 207 provides for the settling of disputes in respect of Crown land by making application to VCAT. Clause 208 provides for instances where the Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth) prevails. 31

 


 

PART 13--OTHER OBLIGATIONS ON THE HOLDERS OF AUTHORITIES Division 1--Operation plan to be prepared Clause 209 requires that an operation plan is to be provided to the Minister for approval before any operation is carried out in respect of an authority under the Bill. The operation plan must provide details about the proposed activities including identifying risks of injury or damage to the environment, any community, person, land user, land or property in the vicinity of the operation. The plan must also include what actions the holder will take to eliminate or minimise those risks and rehabilitate the land affected. Clause 210 requires that the holder of an authority under the Bill must not carry out any greenhouse gas sequestration operations unless the Minister has approved the operation plan in writing. The clause also provides that the Minister must not approve any operation plan unless satisfied that the holder of the authority has, in preparing the plan, consulted with persons who own, occupy or manage the land. Clause 211 requires that the holder of an authority under the Bill must ensure that greenhouse gas sequestration operations are carried out in accordance with the operation plan approved by the Minister under clause 210. Clause 212 provides that the Minister may permit the holder of an authority to vary the operation plan that applies or is to apply to that authority. The clause also provides for the Minister to require the variation of an operation plan, after consulting with the holder of the authority. Division 2--Conduct of operations Clause 213 provides that the holder of an authority must conduct operations in a proper manner. Clause 214 provides for certain other specific obligations on the holder of an authority in regard to the conduct of operations which includes taking all reasonable steps to control the flow and prevent the waste or escape of the greenhouse gas substance or water and preventing the escape in the authority area of any mixture of water or drilling liquid with the greenhouse gas substance or any other matter. 32

 


 

Clause 215 requires the holder of an authority to maintain in good condition and repair all structures, equipment and other property in the authority area, and to remove from the authority area all such structures, equipment and property not being used. Clause 216 requires that the holder of an authority must not interfere, to a greater extent than is necessary, with the activities of any other person using the land. Clause 217 provides that the holder of an authority must rehabilitate land that is used in carrying out any operation under the authority. Clause 218 requires the holder of an authority to obtain and maintain, as directed by the Minister from time to time, insurance against expenses or liabilities in connection with or resulting from carrying out operations under the authority. Division 3--Rehabilitation bond Clause 219 defines rehabilitation bond for the purposes of the Bill as being an acceptable instrument for the securing of a specified amount of money for any rehabilitation, clean up or pollution prevention work that may be required as a result of a greenhouse gas geological sequestration operation. Clause 220 requires the holder of an authority to take out a rehabilitation bond before commencing greenhouse gas sequestration operations. Clause 221 enables the Minister to increase the amount of the rehabilitation bond in respect to an authority where the Minister believes that the amount secured for a rehabilitation bond is insufficient. The Minister may, after consultation with the authority holder, require the holder to obtain an extension of or further rehabilitation bond within 30 days of written notice being given by the Minister. Clause 222 enables the Minister to carry out rehabilitation on land if he or she considers that the rehabilitation has not been sufficient or that it is necessary to do further rehabilitation, or at the request of the owner of the land. The Minister may only undertake rehabilitation if the holder of the authority has failed to undertake rehabilitation within a reasonable time after a request to do so has been made. 33

 


 

Clause 223 requires the Minister to return a rehabilitation bond as soon as possible if he or she is satisfied that the land has been rehabilitated as required and the rehabilitation is likely to be successful and any other work in respect of that bond has been satisfactorily completed. Division 4--Royalties and rents Clause 224 provides for the payment of a royalty, by the holder of an authority to the Minister, in respect of the volume of greenhouse gas substance injected into an underground geological storage formation. Clause 225 enables the Minister, upon application by the holder of a licence, to vary the rate of the royalty paid or to provide that a different method of collecting revenue on the volume of a greenhouse gas is to apply. The Minister must consult with the Treasurer before making such a variation. Clause 226 provides for the timing in regard to the payment of a royalty as specified in the licence or as specified in the regulations. Clause 227 provides for the payment of rent in respect of Crown land that is subject to an authority under the Bill. Division 5--Obligations at end of authority Clause 228 requires the person who held an authority in respect of any land to remove any equipment brought to the land under the authority, within 60 days of when the authority ceases to apply. Clause 229 enables the Minister to cause equipment to be removed and disposed of if a person fails to comply with clause 205. The Minister may also recover any associated costs from the rehabilitation bond and from any proceeds resulting from the disposal of equipment. Any amount that cannot be recovered from the rehabilitation bond or disposal of equipment is payable as a debt to the Crown, owed by the person who failed to comply with clause 228. 34

 


 

PART 14--INFORMATION Division 1--Information to be given to the Minister Clause 230 provides for the Minister to require certain information from the holder of an authority if an underground geological storage formation is discovered. The Minister may direct the holder of an authority in writing to provide such information, or to conduct tests or to do anything required to obtain such information. Clause 231 requires the holder of an authority to provide certain information to the Minister pursuant to the regulations. Clause 232 provides that the Minister may require the holder of an exploration permit, retention lease or an injection and monitoring licence to carry out a survey of the position of any well, structure or equipment in the area and to provide the Minister with a written report of the findings. Clause 233 enables the Minister to require a person to provide certain information in relation to the carrying out of greenhouse gas sequestration operations. The Minister may require a person to do so in written form or by appearing before someone specified by the Minister. The Minister must make such a requirement in writing. Clause 234 permits the Minister to require, in writing, the holder of an authority issued under the Petroleum Act 1998 to provide prescribed information by the date specified in that request. Clause 235 makes it an offence for a person to provide any information, answer of document which the person knows is false or misleading in a material detail. Division 2--Release of information Clause 236 defines the meaning of information and release of information to mean making of that information publicly available. Clause 237 defines the meaning of interpretive information as being information contained in a document that is in the opinion of the Minister, an opinion or conclusion that is based in whole or part on information relating to the sub-soil, the greenhouse gas substance or the underground geological storage formation. Clause 238 defines the meaning of information collection date for the purposes of ascertaining when certain information is required to be submitted or collected. 35

 


 

Clause 239 prevents the Minister from releasing certain information provided by an applicant in an application for an authority. Clause 240 provides for certain information that the Minister may release any time after the grant or renewal of an authority, or the refusal to grant or renew an authority. Clause 241 provides that the Minister may release certain information after the expiry of 180 days from the date the authority under which the information was given expires or was surrendered or cancelled in relation to an area. Clause 242 provides that the Minister may release any information given by the holder of an injection and monitoring licence relating to the licence area, not including interpretive information. Clause 243 provides that the Minister may release certain information given by the holder of an authority other than an injection and monitoring licence that relates to an area to which the authority applies, not including interpretive information. Clause 244 restricts the Minister from releasing information collected under a special access authorisation that may be sold to any member of the public on reasonable terms. The clause provides that such information cannot be released before the expiry of 5 years from the date of finishing the collection of the information or 180 days after collecting the information started. The Minister may withhold the release of the information for a longer period of time. Clause 245 provides that the Minister may release certain information concerning an application for an authority or the renewal of an authority earlier than would be allowed under any other provision in the Bill providing the person who made the application consents in writing or has publicly released the information already. Clause 246 allows the Minister to release any interpretive information any time after the expiry of 5 years from the information collection date. Clause 247 provides for the procedure to be followed before interpretive information may be released, including the requirement for the Minister to publish a notice in the Government Gazette of his or her intention to release the information. The Minister must invite notices of objection to such release and must also advise the person of their right to seek a review under clause 225 of a decision to release. 36

 


 

Clause 248 enables a person who submitted a notice of objection to the release of interpretive information to ask the Minister to review the decision. Clause 249 enables the Minister to provide certain information to another Minister or to a Minister of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory. Clause 250 places a restriction on the holder of an exploration permit, retention lease or injection and monitoring licence in certain circumstances, with respect to obtaining certain information to meet work program obligations. PART 15--ENFORCEMENT Division 1--Inspections Clause 251 provides for the Minister to authorise a person to carry out inspections for the purposes of the Bill and requires the Minister to issue identity cards to the authorised inspectors. The clause requires that if an inspector's authorisation is revoked or expires, the person is required to return the issued identity card to the Minister immediately. Clause 252 requires an inspector to produce his or her identity card for inspection before or during the exercise of powers under the Bill. Clause 253 provides for the monitoring by an inspector, of compliance with the Bill and enables an inspector to enter any premises and exercise other powers in the clause for the purpose of monitoring such compliance. The powers an inspector may exercise under the clause include making copies of or taking extracts from any documents on the premises, seizing anything on the premises the inspector believes on reasonable ground is necessary to seize in order to prevent its concealment, loss or destruction, testing any equipment and using assistants to exercise these powers. Clause 254 provides that the inspector may exercise any of the powers in clause 253(1) in an emergency or if he or she reasonably believes that is an immediate risk that an emergency may occur. An emergency may include in relation to a greenhouse gas sequestration operation, where one or more people might be injured or that property might be seriously damaged or that significant damage may occur to the environment. The clause provides that an inspector may not continue to exercise these powers if he or she does not, on request, produce his or her identity card for inspection by the occupier of the premises. If an inspector exercises powers of entry under this clause without the 37

 


 

owner or occupier being present the inspector must on leaving the premises, leave a notice detailing the time of entry and details pertaining to things done on the premises, as well as contact details for the Department. Clause 255 provides that an inspector may only exercise search and seizure powers under this Bill where he or she has reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has committed an offence under the Bill. Clause 256 requires a copy of written consent to immediately be given to the occupier consenting to the search and seizure of their premises or residence under clause 253 or 255. Clause 257 provides that an inspector may apply to a magistrate for the issue of a search warrant in respect of particular premises. Clause 258 requires an inspector named on a warrant or person assisting an inspector to announce that he or she is authorised by the warrant to enter the premises. This clause need not be complied with if the inspector or person assisting the inspector reasonably believes that immediate entry to the premises is required to ensure the safety of any person or that the effective execution of the search warrant is not compromised. Clause 259 requires that a copy of the warrant must be provided to the occupier or a person who apparently represents the occupier. Clause 260 requires a receipt to be given for any thing that is seized. Such a receipt must identify the thing seized, the name of the inspector and the reason for the seizure. Clause 261 requires the inspector to give a copy of a seized document, information or thing, if it can be readily copied, to the owner or custodian of the document, information or thing. Clause 262 enables an inspector to bring onto a premise any equipment reasonably deemed to be necessary for the examination or processing of things found at the premises to determine whether they are things that may be seized. Clause 263 enables an inspector to require that equipment should be operated to access information, or may seize electronic equipment where information contained therein may not be documented and seized or copied. Clause 264 requires the Minister to pay compensation for damage caused by an inspector or person assisting an inspector in exercising or purporting to exercise any powers conferred by the Act. 38

 


 

Clause 265 requires an inspector to return things that have been seized while exercising enforcement powers under the Bill. Clause 266 provides that the Magistrates' Court may extend the retention period for retaining a seized thing, upon application by the inspector. Clause 267 provides that an inspector may require information or documents to be provided by a person. Clause 268 provides that a natural person may refuse or fail to give any information if that information would tend to incriminate the person. This protection is neither applicable to the production of a document, part of a document nor the giving of a person's name or address, as required under the Bill or the Regulations. Clause 269 makes it an offence to obstruct or hinder an inspector or to refuse admission to any premises to an inspector or person assisting an inspector in exercising his or her powers under the Bill. Division 2--Improvement and prohibition notices Clause 270 enables the Minister to issue an improvement notice to the holder of an authority, requiring the holder to take specific action within a specified period to stop any contravention of the provisions in the Bill or to stop any failure to comply, from continuing or occurring again. Clause 271 enables the Minister to issue a prohibition notice requiring the holder of an authority to stop an activity, where there is an immediate risk of one or more people being injured, of serious damage to property or of significant damage to the environment. The prohibition notice may require the holder of an authority to stop any greenhouse gas sequestration operation activity in the authority area, or from taking any specific action in the authority area until the Minister provides in writing that a direction has been complied with, or until the expiry of the specified period. Clause 272 provides for the form in which an improvement or prohibition notice can be issued, including the grounds on which it was issued and the right of the holder to have the notice reviewed under this division. Clause 273 provides the right for a person to seek a review of a decision to issue an improvement or prohibition notice by applying to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for such a review. 39

 


 

Clause 274 provides defences to the charge of failing to comply with a notice, including being able to prove that a contravention or non compliance did not occur, or that all reasonable steps were taken to comply with a notice. Clause 275 provides for the Minister to remedy a person's failure to comply with an improvement notice. The costs and expenses incurred by the Minister are a debt due by that person to the State. Division 3--Offences Clause 276 provides that a corporation is deemed to have the knowledge and intent of its officers. Clause 277 provides that an offence by a corporation is also an offence by an officer of that corporation, where the offence was instigated by or with the consent of that officer. Clause 278 provides that a person is liable for the actions of its partner or partners where the partner or partners acted or purported to act on behalf of the partnership. Clause 279 provides that a person is liable for an offence committed against the Act by other people in a joint venture and acting or purporting to act on behalf of the joint venture. Clause 280 provides that a person is guilty of an offence where another person committed an offence in acting for or on behalf of that person. PART 16--ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS Division 1--Greenhouse gas sequestration register Clause 281 requires the Minister to set up and ensure the maintenance of a greenhouse gas sequestration register. The register may be maintained electronically and must contain the details, information and documents specified in the clause. Clause 282 provides that certain items must be registered before they can take effect. Clause 283 provides that entries on devolution of title must be registered in the register in order for them to take effect. Clause 284 provides for the procedure by which registration in the greenhouse gas register occurs. Clause 285 sets out the effect of registration in the register. 40

 


 

Clause 286 provides for inspection of the register and documents forming part of the register on payment of any fee required by the regulations and during the hours the register is kept open for business. Clause 287 provides that the Minister's certificate relating to the content of the greenhouse gas sequestration register is admissible as evidence in any proceeding. Clause 288 provides that the Minister may alter the register to make corrections to the register. Clause 289 provides that a person may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for review of an entry in the register. Clause 290 makes it an offence to wilfully make false entries or produce false documents relating to the greenhouse gas sequestration register. Division 2--Other administrative matters Clause 291 provides that the Minister may require further information concerning an application within a specified time. Clause 292 provides that each document that is required to be submitted to the Minister under the Bill must be in a form determined by the Minister. In addition, each document or form that the Minister issues under the Bill is to be in the form determined by the Minister. Clause 293 provides that a person who is employed in the administration of the Bill must comply with any requirements of the regulations to disclose his or her pecuniary interests. Clause 294 provides for the Minister to employ or authorise a person employed in, or acting on behalf of the Department to enter any land to carry out surveys and drilling operations for the purpose of carrying out geological tests or making a land, mining or geological survey on behalf of the Department. Clause 295 enables the Minister to authorise a person employed in, or acting on behalf of the Department to enter any land to carry out greenhouse gas sequestration formation exploration activities. Clause 296 enables the Minister or the Secretary to delegate in writing any power within this Bill, other than the power of delegation, to any person employed in the Department. 41

 


 

Division 3--Fees and penalties Clause 297 requires that the relevant application fee must be paid before an application can be considered. Clause 298 provides that any fees, penalties, royalties and other amounts are recoverable as debts to the State. PART 17--GENERAL Clause 299 provides that it is an offence for a person to disclose any information that is obtained by him or her while exercising a power conferred by the Bill, including any pecuniary advantage that may be gained from such knowledge. Clause 300 enables the Minister to specify and vary the method of identifying authority areas. Clause 301 enables the Minister to approve a code of practice for the purpose of providing practical guidance to the holders of authorities in carrying out greenhouse gas sequestration operations. Clause 302 provides for the use of codes of practice in any proceedings that have been provided for in the Bill. Clause 303 enables the Governor in Council to make regulations under the Bill. The clause also sets out the scope and ambit of such regulations. PART 18--TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS AND CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS Division 1--Water Act 1989 licences Clause 304 provides that nothing in the Bill affects the operation of any authority granted under the Water Act 1989 that is in force immediately before commencement of clause 16 of the Bill. Division 2--EPA to administer monitoring and verification Clause 305 amends the Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to prosecute a person who does not comply with clause 50(1)(c), which relates to the holder of an authority undertaking injection testing in accordance with the monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the injection testing plan. 42

 


 

Clause 306 amends this Bill to require the holder of an exploration permit to provide a report to the Environment Protection Authority on all monitoring and verification activities carried out under that permit. The clause also provides for the amendment of section 55(3) of the Greenhouse Gas Geological Sequestration Act 2008 to require the Environment Protection Authority to provide the Minister with a report and for the Minister to provide a copy of each report for inspection in the greenhouse gas sequestration register. Clause 307 provides for amendments to this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to prosecute the holder of an injection and monitoring licence who fails to carry out injection and monitoring in accordance with a monitoring and verification plan prepared as part of the injection and monitoring plan. Clause 308 amends this Bill to require the holder of an injection and monitoring licence to provide a report to the Environment Protection Authority on all monitoring and verification activities carried out under that licence. The clause also provides for the amendment of section 111(3) of the Greenhouse Gas Geological Sequestration Act 2008 to require the Environment Protection Authority to provide the Minister with a report and for the Minister to provide a copy of each report for inspection in the greenhouse gas sequestration register. Clause 309 amends this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to authorise any suitable person in the Environment Protection Authority as inspectors under the Bill for the purpose of monitoring compliance and enforcing any non-compliance with any monitoring and verification plan forming part of an injection testing plan or injection and monitoring plan approved under the Bill. Clause 310 amends this Bill to provide for the Environment Protection Authority to exercise certain powers for the purpose of monitoring compliance and enforcing any non-compliance with any monitoring and verification plan forming part of an injection testing plan or injection and monitoring plan approved under the Bill. Clause 311 amends this Bill to require the Environment Protection Authority to pay compensation for any damage caused by an EPA officer authorised as an inspector under the Bill. Clause 312 amends this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to issue an improvement notice as provided for in the inserted provisions in clause. 43

 


 

Clause 313 amends this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to issue a prohibition notice in accordance with the inserted provisions in the clause. Clause 314 amends this Bill to set out the form of notice that the Environment Protection Authority should follow when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice under the Bill. Clause 315 amends this Bill to enable a person to apply to VCAT for review of a decision by the Environment Protection Authority, in relation to an improvement or prohibition notice. Clause 316 amends this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to do anything required by an improvement notice, where a holder fails to comply with that notice. Clause 317 amends this Bill to enable the Environment Protection Authority to delegate any person or persons employed by the Authority to any power under the Bill, except that power of delegation. Clause 318 amends this Bill to specifically provide for the Governor in Council to make regulations pertaining to the transfer of the administration of monitoring and verification activities to the Environment Protection Authority. Clauses 305-318 come into operation on the fourth anniversary of the date on which the sections they are amending come into operation. Given the time required to develop and implement relevant statutory instruments and administrative processes and procedures, an earlier commencement date is not appropriate. Division 3--Consequential amendments to other Acts Clause 319 amends section 33(4) of the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 to insert a new paragraph "(bb)" after subsection (a)(ba). The clause also amends subsection 33(4)(c) to insert "Greenhouse Gas Geological Sequestration Act 2008". The effect of this clause is that, consistent with the treatment of other resources exploration, extraction or production activities, section 35(4) Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 will be amended so as to provide that the exploration for underground geological formations, injection of greenhouse gas substances, or carrying out of other activities in accordance with an authority under this Bill is not prohibited or restricted by land use conditions. 44

 


 

Clause 320 amends section 40(2) of the National Parks Act 1975. The effect of this clause is that section 40(2) of the National Parks Act 1975 will be amended to clarify that a lease, licence permit consent or other authority shall not be granted under this Bill in respect of any part of a park except with the consent of the Minister and subject to such terms and conditions as he thinks fit to impose. Clause 321 amends section 2 of the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983. The effect of this clause is that the definition of mining title in section 2 of the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983 will be amended to include reference to titles granted under this Bill. Clause 322 amends section 9 and section 26(1) of the Victorian Plantations Corporation Act 1993. The effect of this clause is that similarly to other Victorian resources titles, titles granted under this Bill will be exempted from the effect of section 9 of the Victorian Plantations Corporation Act 1993 concerning the effect of vesting land to the Victorian Plantation Corporation. Section 26(1) of the Victorian Plantations Corporation Act 1993 will also be amended to make clear that operations under this Bill, which involve the taking of forest produce are not to be carried out on vested land or managed land except with the Corporation's consent and on any terms or conditions that it imposes. Clause 323 amends the Water Act 1989 to insert a new section 76(7). The effect of this clause is that the holder of an authority under the Bill and who has an approved injection testing plan or injection and monitoring plan is not required to obtain approval from the Minister responsible for the Water Act 1989. 45

 


 

 


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