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Australia

Dennis Murphy Tipakalippa v National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority & Anor

Jurisdiction: Federal Court of Australia


Principle law(s): Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006


Side A: Dennis Murphy Tipakalippa (Individual)


Side B: National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority & Anor (Government)


Core objectives: Whether, in the course of preparing its environment plan for regulatory approval, Santos should have consulted with the applicant and his community; Whether the applicant and his community are considered “relevant persons” for consultation under the relevant regulations


Summary
The applicant, Munupi Senior Lawman and Tiwi Traditional Owner Dennis Tipakalippa, is from the Tiwi islands, a biodiversity haven approximately 80 kilometres north of the Australian city of Darwin. 

The applicant is suing the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority, the Australian Government’s offshore energy regulator, and an oil and gas company, Santos Limited, over the approval of plans to drill the Barossa gas field in waters off Northern Australia. The lawsuit asks the court to set the approval aside on the basis that Santos’ failure to consult with the applicant and his community invalidates the Environment Plan. 

According to Orders made by the Court on 4 July 2022, the matter is listed for trial on 22, 23 and 25 August 2022. 

Proceedings regarding an application for interlocutory injunction restraining Santos from commencing or continuing offshore drilling until the expedited final hearing, which was scheduled for six weeks after the proceedings for interlocutory relief, commenced 13 July 2022. After accepting that the applicant had demonstrated a prima facie case, the injunction was denied on the basis that drilling will not have gotten underway to a significant extent by the time the hearing comes about and of earlier representations made by the applicant indicating he was prepared to accept harm occasioned by the drilling of one well over a short period in order to be availed of the opportunity to stop the vast majority of the approved drilling at an expedited hearing.

Full case documents will be added as they become available. 
Related laws and policies
  • AUS flag This law implements Australia legislation
    Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006

    Passed in 2008 Legislative

    The Act aims to provide an effective regulatory framework for petroleum exploration and recovery, and the exploration for potential GHG storage formations, injection and storage of GHG substances in offshore areas (Commonwealth waters). The Act provides a comprehensive national framework for offs...

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