Call for Submissions on Tasmanian Draft Gas Safety Regulations

Friday 26 July 2019 @ 12.01 p.m. | Legal Research

On 18 July 2019, the draft Gas Safety Regulations 2019 (the “Draft regulation”) was released for community consultation and comment by Tasmania’s Department of Justice. If the draft becomes legislation, it will replace the Gas Safety Regulations 2014 and Gas Pipelines Regulations 2014.

Background

As stated on Tasmania’s Department of Justice website, the Government is:

“… undertaking a review of the gas regulatory framework to ensure contemporary regulation across gas infrastructure, gas installations and gas appliances that continues to provide for the efficient and safe development of the gas industry in Tasmania.”

The Gas Safety Act 2019 (Tas) (the “Act”) received Royal Assent on 9 April 2019 (this Act is currently awaiting commencement). According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum, some of the objectives the Act hopes to achieve include:

  • removal of certain industry and government obligations that were not conducive to efficient decision making;
  • creating a fairer “recovery of costs” model for administration of the Act across the broader gas supply industry;
  • providing appropriate emergency powers and consultative mechanisms to ensure safety and security of gas infrastructure and installations before, during, and after emergency or gas rationing situations;
  • providing safety regimes for emerging gases, for example compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG, biogas and hydrogen);
  • allowing for enforceable Codes of Practice to cover emerging technology not already covered in legislation or standards;
  • allowing for infringement notice provisions to better regulate safety outcomes; and
  • enhancing energy security for the State and consumers.

The intent of the Draft regulation is to “continue the establishment of a regulatory framework that maximises the long-term growth of the gas industry in Tasmania, whilst providing sufficient regulatory certainty to attract investment”.

Overview of the Proposed Changes

According to the Department of Justice, current Tasmanian legislation has not kept pace with developments in non‑traditional gas supply, such as utilisation of hydrogen and biogas and stationary gas engines, and so the Department believes the safety legislation needs strengthening in order to enable more effective monitoring of non-traditional methods of supply.

The proposed Draft regulation intends to combine and consolidate provisions of the Gas Safety Regulations 2014 and Gas Pipelines Regulations 2014, rectify current anomalies and reduce “red tape where risk was not proportionate to regulatory burden and reflect current regulatory and industry best practice”.

Some examples of the proposed changes by the Draft regulation include:

  • removal of certain obligations on industry and government that are not conducive to efficient decision making, and can place barriers to investment in projects;
  • providing safety regimes for emerging gases e.g. compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), biogas and hydrogen;
  • allowing for enforceable codes of practice to cover emerging technology not already covered in legislation or standards; and
  • allowing for infringement notice provisions to better regulate safety outcomes.

The Department is taking submissions on the Draft regulation until 23 August 2019.

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Sources:

[Draft] Gas Safety Regulations 2019 (Tas)

Gas Safety Act 2019 (Tas)

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