The Government of Australia has announced plans to implement a new set of regulations to strengthen and increase transparency within the country’s offshore oil and gas sector.

The measures will be implemented on the basis of new recommendations derived from a review of consultation and transparency in the industry.

"Australians can have confidence in the information used to decide where, when and how petroleum activities take place and are able to have their say during the process."

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan stated that the regulations are expected to ensure the availability of a greater amount of information in the public domain.

The measures emphasise the need to improve public consultation regarding potential new offshore petroleum exploration areas, as well as establishing a register for stakeholders interested in being consulted on future activities in an offshore area.

Community information sessions are set to be held in areas where petroleum activities are scheduled to be conducted.

The environmental plans submitted by petroleum companies will also now be published in order to invite public consideration before starting any activity.

Canavan said: “Australians can have confidence in the information used to decide where, when and how petroleum activities take place and are able to have their say during the process, as well as knowing if an incident has occurred and what action is taken to address it.

“The approval process is detailed and thorough, but there are sometimes long periods between an area being made available for exploration, exploration occurring and production commencing.

“These new measures will ensure information is readily available throughout this time.”

In addition, the government is also expected to make further changes to the transparency of compliance and enforcement activities conducted by the offshore petroleum industry safety authority NOPSEMA.