Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt says an important step has been taken to lay the foundations of a new hydrogen industry in Australia after key legislation passed through Parliament this week.
The Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage (OPGGS) Amendment Bills amending the OPGGS Act 2006 were approved by the Senate and are now awaiting royal assent.
Minister Pitt says the passage of the Bills could pave the way for the development of an important new Australian resources industry.
“The abundant brown coal resources of the Latrobe Valley are ideal feedstock for one of the world’s first hydrogen export industries based on coal, generating new jobs and business opportunities in a regional area that has been suffering with the closure of the Hazelwood power station,” Mr Pitt said.
“The CarbonNet project will provide the required Carbon Capture and Storage for the development of the low emissions Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain Project.
“CarbonNet has been investigating the feasibility for a commercial-scale, multi-user CCS network in Gippsland, Victoria, and the Bills that passed through parliament removes one of the technical issues around the project.
“A proposed site straddles the boundary of state and Commonwealth waters and the Bill amends and clarifies the regulatory framework to help unlock the development of more projects in the Latrobe Valley – providing a cost effective pathway to low emissions.
“As Australia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and begins the process of economic recovery, it’s even more crucial that we ensure that our regulatory approvals support, not hinder, major projects. These amendment achieve that,” Mr Pitt said.
Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, said the legislation opened the door to new local economic opportunities.
“This has real potential to generate new jobs and business opportunities in a regional area that has been suffering with the closure of the Hazelwood power station, drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus,” Mr Chester said.
“It’s great to see a significant new industry being created right here in Gippsland as the Latrobe Valley finds new ways of using its natural resources and continues working towards reducing emissions.”
Amendments in the Bill will also provide stronger powers to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) to fully respond in the unlikely event of an oil spill that crosses into state waters.