22/12/2009 - 15:22

State Govt welcomes Varanus report

22/12/2009 - 15:22

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The state government has welcomed the Supreme Court ruling's overturning legal action by Apache Northwest to block the release of a restricted report into the Varanus gas pipeline explosion more than 18 months ago.

State Govt welcomes Varanus report

The state government has welcomed the Supreme Court ruling's overturning legal action by Apache Northwest to block the release of a restricted report into the Varanus gas pipeline explosion more than 18 months ago.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said the latest court decision was significant for the ongoing safety of the Western Australian petroleum industry and the future administration of the state government.

Apache NW, the pipeline's operators, had previously tried to legally block Mr Moore from receiving information contained in various reports related to the June 2008 incident which caused significant disruption to the state's power supply.

Apache filed the appeal on August 14 this year after the Supreme Court decided in favour of the state in relation to injunction and declarations restraining the Department of Mines and Petroleum from providing the investigation report to Mr Moore.

Mr Moore said the litigation process undermined the state's ability to progress the findings of the inquiries and implement further necessary changes to enhance the delivery of regulatory regimes for the upstream petroleum industry.

"I have waited a long time to review the recommendation of the expert investigators into the June 3, 2008 explosion which raised questions abouth the effectiveness of the existing regulatory system and the implications this may have for occupational health and safety," he said in a statement.

"The report will give us a more complete picture and help the Government make more informed decisions abouth the effectiveness of operator managed practices, adequacy of the regulatory system and the regulators for upstream petroleum operations."

 

 

 

Full announcement below:

 

Tue 22 December, 2009

Minister welcomes release of long awaited report into Varanus gas explosion
Portfolio: Mines and Petroleum

The Supreme Court today overturned legal action by Apache Northwest to block the release to Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore of a restricted report into the Varanus gas pipeline explosion.

Apache NW, the pipeline's operators, had previously tried to legally block the Minister from receiving information contained in various reports related to the June 2008 incident which caused significant disruption to the State's power supply.

Apache filed the appeal on August 14, 2009, after the Supreme Court decided in favour of the State in relation to injunction and declarations restraining the Department of Mines and Petroleum from providing the investigation report to Mr Moore.

The Minister said the latest court decision was significant for the ongoing safety of the Western Australian petroleum industry and the future administration of the State Government.

"This litigation process has undermined the State's ability to progress the findings of the inquiries and implement further necessary changes to enhance the delivery of regulatory regimes for the upstream petroleum industry," he said.

"I have waited a long time to review the recommendation of the expert investigators into the June 3, 2008 explosion which raised questions abouth the effectiveness of the existing regulatory system and the implications this may have for occupational health and safety.

"The report will give us a more complete picture and help the Government make more informed decisions abouth the effectiveness of operator managed practices, adequacy of the regulatory system and the regulators for upstream petroleum operations."

The Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court decided unaminously that even if a duty of procedural fairness was owed, that duty was note breached. The court said that responsible government depended on the assumption that Ministers had access to and could freely request and obtain information help by department officers.

Mr Moore said despite the continued litigation by Apache, the State Government had already implemented some changes to improve regulatory functions for the upstream petroleum sector.

The Minister said he would review the report closely before deciding what further action to take.

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