Parties agree to resolve Petroleum Export Permit 11 (PEP-11) litigation
The Australian Government and Asset Energy have reached an agreement to end ongoing litigation relating to PEP-11 and have filed proposed consent orders with the Federal Court of Australia.
Should the Federal Court of Australia accept the proposed consent orders, the PEP-11 decision will be returned to the Commonwealth-New South Wales Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority for consideration.
In the first instance, the Government of New South Wales, as the New South Wales member of the Joint Authority, will consider its position in relation to the project as a relevant decision maker under the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act (2006).
The Commonwealth will then consider the matter once the New South Wales member of the Commonwealth-New South Wales Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority has considered the matter.
Asset Energy had commenced proceedings in the Federal Court to challenge Scott Morrison’s decision to refuse applications in relation to PEP-11.
Asset Energy commenced proceedings following the revelation that Mr Morrison had secretly sworn himself to the resources portfolio and to four other departments of state without disclosure to his Cabinet colleagues or to the public.
The Bell Inquiry confirmed the Solicitor-General’s conclusion that the principles of responsible government were “fundamentally undermined” because Mr Morrison was not “responsible” to the Parliament, and through the Parliament to the electors, for the departments he was appointed to administer.
The consent orders, if granted, will vacate Mr Morrison’s decision to refuse applications in relation to PEP-11, and return the PEP-11 application to the Commonwealth-New South Wales Offshore Petroleum Joint Authority for a new decision.
The Minister for Resources, the Hon Madeleine King MP, has welcomed that both parties have reached an agreement to resolve the court proceedings.
Minister King stated that “I assure Australians that any decisions that I take as the Federal Minister for Resources will always be based on sound evidence and in accordance with the law. Australians quite rightly expect this of their elected leaders.
“I am not going to provide an ongoing commentary on future official decisions that come before the Joint Authority, whether in relation to PEP-11 or any other matter.”