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Legislative updates in Queensland and Western Australia

The Governments in Queensland and Western Australia have recently released several consultation papers, reports and proposed legislation that impact the resources sector.

Legislative updates in Queensland and Western Australia

The Governments in Queensland and Western Australia have recently released several consultation papers, reports and proposed legislation that impact the resources sector. 


Accelerating the development of the hydrogen industry is a priority for the Queensland Government. To ensure its regulatory framework is fit for purpose the Department of Energy and Climate recently released a consultation paper to obtain feedback on its proposed legislative reforms to remove barriers and support the hydrogen industry. The State currently has over 50 hydrogen projects in progress and requires 3GW of gas generation capacity to meet electricity demand under the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. 

The consultation paper looked at several issues hindering the development of the hydrogen industry including the complexities involved in obtaining development approvals and putting in place a State code for hydrogen developments to ensure assessments are consistent. Feedback was also sought on the current framework for obtaining environmental approvals for hydrogen development.

Proposed reforms also considered the energy required to scale hydrogen development and provided solutions to ensure households and other energy users were not impacted. The impact of developments on the community were also considered in the consultation paper. 

The consultation period is now over and we now wait for the outcomes from the process.

The Government also introduced the Environmental Protection (Powers and Penalties) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (Qld) in February. This Bill responds to recommendations under the Independent Review of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) that was completed in 2022. The Bill proposes to:


  • Amend the definition of “environment” to include land, waters, atmosphere, climate, sound, odours and tastes. This is likely to expand the reach of the legislation;
  • Establish that failing to comply with the general environmental duty is an offence where it is likely to cause serious or material environmental harm. In the current legislation, the general environmental duty is only a defence to unlawful environment harm;
  • Create a duty to restore the environment where contamination that results in environmental harm is caused or permitted unlawfully; 
  • Introduce and expand the grounds for making an environmental enforcement order. It’s proposed that the environmental enforcement order will replace environmental protection orders, direction notices and clean-up notices;
  • Give the authority greater powers to revise proposed amendments to environmental authorities and progressive rehabilitation and closer plan schedules, and to amend transitional environmental programs. 

    The Bill has been referred to the Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee who will provide its report on April 12.

    Western Australia

    The Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 (WA) is currently before the Parliament and details the proposed carbon capture and storage framework. The Bill provides for four types of permits related to greenhouse gas exploration, drilling reservations, retention leases and injection licences. Some limitations do exist though, for example a greenhouse gas exploration permit can only be renewed once and the holder of a petroleum or geothermal exploration permit or drilling reservation holder cannot apply for an identified greenhouse gas storage formation. The Bill also establishes criteria to identify storage formations. Eligible greenhouse gas storage formations must be suitable for storing 100,000 tonnes or more and meet fundamental suitability requirements. 

    When the Bill passes, greenhouse gas licensees will be required to inform the Minister if a serious situation arises. A serious situation includes the leakage of a greenhouse gas substance injected into a storage formation. The Minister can then direct the licensee on what reasonable steps they must take.

    The Bill also provides for greenhouse gas storage formations to be closed and sets out the requirements to obtain a closing certificate. Before the Minister issues the closing certificate, the Minister will outline the monitoring program and its estimated cost that will be undertaken by the State and the amount of security that the proponent must give the State to undertake the monitoring. After at least 15 years have passed, the State may assume liability for the damages for the site.

    The Minister for Climate Change and Energy is also seeking public feedback regarding a proposed offshore wind and renewable project in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Bunbury region. The region is expected to deliver up to 20 GW of energy to the South West region. The Traditional Owners of the region are the Nyoongar people and they have significant interests in the marine area including Sea Country and engagement is currently underway with the community. Submissions for this proposed project are open until 3 May.

    The Economics and Industry Standing Committee recently released its interim report on its inquiry into Western Australia’s Domestic Gas Policy.  The report has found that the State’s domestic gas policy is not fit for purpose and has outlined key findings that include:

  • Western Australia is at risk of experiencing a long-term shortfall in gas supply over the next  decade. If this forecasted shortfall occurs, it may result in higher electricity prices, loss of industry and jobs and threaten the State’ decarbonisation efforts;
  • The current policy doesn’t provide enough flexibility to respond to these changes in the market. The policy is based on contracts that result in a lack of consistency, transparency and enforceability;
  • Some liquified natural gas (LNG) producers do not appear to be operating within the spirit of the policy where they are required to provide 15% of gas supplies to the domestic market, yet the average is about 8%. LNG exports are favoured by producers above domestic markets because they attract higher prices and exposure to larger markets internationally; and
  • While government intervention may be required due to the expected shortfall in gas supply, the preference is for an industry-led response to address the problem. The level of government intervention required may be limited only to those producers who don’t operate within the spirit of the existing framework.

    We now await the final report which is expected to recommend some government interventions to address this issue

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