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ARELJ Article - Public Duties on the Disposal of Australia's Non-Renewable Resources: The Case for Regulatory Reform

John A. P. Chandler
University of Western Australia

Australia’s non-renewable resources in the form of minerals and petroleum represent a significant part of our national wealth and revenue. This article argues that their disposal should be subject to duties on the part of public officials to oversee the disposal to maximise the benefits for the Australian people. It also argues that where those duties exist, they are seriously deficient. It analyses why that is the case and sets out an argument for change and proposals for reform. One of the main reasons for the lack of duties on disposal is that production takes place under petroleum and mineral licensing statutes that confer rights to the resource on the private sector. This article explores the structure and weaknesses of that approach and the many changes that have occurred since those statutes were enacted.

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