Joint Authorities

Key functions

The Joint Authorities have the power to make certain decisions under the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGSA). Key functions and powers of Joint Authorities include:

  • release of offshore petroleum exploration areas
  • decisions relating to bids for these areas
  • grant/refusal of offshore petroleum titles
  • variation of title conditions
  • suspension and extension to title terms
  • surrender and cancellation of titles
  • resource management (Declaration of Location, Rates of Recovery, Field Development Plans, initial and variations).

In the case of greenhouse gas titles, the decision maker is the responsible Commonwealth Minister.


The Joint Authority for each state and the Northern Territory comprises the responsible Commonwealth Minister (currently the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) and the relevant state or Northern Territory minister.

The Joint Authority arrangements for the following offshore areas comprises the responsible Commonwealth Minister:

  • Tasmania
  • Eastern Greater Sunrise
  • Offshore areas of external territories (e.g. the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands).

Current Joint Authority members and the departments of their delegates


Senator the Hon. Matt Canavan

Western Australia

The Hon. William (Bill) Joseph Johnston MLA


The Hon. Jaclyn Symes MP

Northern Territory

The Hon. Paul Andrew Kirby MLA

South Australia

The Hon. Daniel van Holst Pellekaan MP

New South Wales

The Hon. Donald Harwin MLC


The Hon. Dr Anthony Lynham MP


The Joint Authorities may delegate any or all of their functions and powers to appropriate Commonwealth and state/NT department officials. Delegations will be subject to the following conditions:

  • Joint Authority ministers have the opportunity to issue media statements when important decisions are made, such as the award of offshore petroleum titles
  • Any contentious or strategic issues be referred to ministers (such as decisions that deviate from approved policy or well established precedents, or where there is a difference of opinion between Commonwealth and state/NT officials)
  • Departments are to report regularly to their respective minister on decisions envisaged in a coming period and also report back on delegated decisions taken during the previous period, and undertake to provide timely advice on issues arising from delegated decisions that might affect ministerial accountability.

The responsible Commonwealth Minister has delegated his functions and powers to the General Manager, Offshore Resources Branch, Resources Division, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Joint Authority Protocol

The ‘Operating Protocols for Offshore Petroleum Joint Authorities and supporting institutions’ (Joint Authority Protocol) provides a high level framework and clarifies the roles and functions of the Joint Authority, NOPTA, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and other stakeholders.

The timeframes contained in the Joint Authority Protocol are intended to provide guidance to applicants and titleholders to assist with planning. These timeframes have not been prescribed for the purposes of section 286B of the OPGGSA.

For any questions regarding the protocol please contact

Operating protocols for offshore petroleum Joint Authorities and supporting institutions

Go to top Go to top icon