Roles and Responsibilities of Government

Under Australian law, rights to petroleum are owned or held by governments but assigned to private interests under arrangements set out in legislation.

Australian governments neither undertake petroleum projects nor engage in commercial petroleum exploration and development. The private sector initiates exploration and development while government has four main roles in relation to the petroleum sector:

In the Australian federal system both the national government (the Australian Government) and the State and Territory governments have important roles affecting petroleum exploration and development:

Because of their shared interest in the contribution of the petroleum sector to national economic wellbeing, the Australian and State and Territory governments hold regular formal consultations, through the Ministerial Council on Mineral and Petroleum Resources. They do this with a view to ensuring coordination of policy and regulatory requirements in a wide range of areas.

Petroleum exploration and development in the Timor Sea Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) is governed by a Treaty which came into force on 2 April 2003 (see section on this Area, later in this publication). Acreage in the JPDA is managed by the Timor Sea Designated Authority and conditions vary from the administrative arrangements described elsewhere in this publication.