The Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment (PRIA) is an initial assessment of social, environmental and economic matters relating to areas that could be released for coal or petroleum exploration. It involves engaging with interested and potentially impacted stakeholders to identify issues for consideration as part of the Strategic Release Framework for Coal and Petroleum.
The department is responsible for undertaking Preliminary Regional Issues Assessments (PRIAs). This is an assessment of social, environmental and economic matters relating to areas that could be released for coal or petroleum exploration. It involves engaging with interested and potentially impacted stakeholders to identify issues for consideration as part of the Strategic Release Framework. This assessment will summarise the key issues, opportunities and constraints associated with releasing the areas for resource exploration.
The assessment will focus on:
- collecting relevant data to identify key social, environmental and economic considerations in the areas
- engaging with the community to gain knowledge on local matters of interest and concern
- examining potential risks and constraints to the release of the areas for gas exploration. e.g. significant environmental and heritage concerns, potential land use conflicts, impacts on existing infrastructure and services
- examining the issues to inform the decision makers on whether or not to release the areas for exploration and the terms of any release.
The Advisory Body for Strategic Release will consider the Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment in recommending to the NSW Minister for Resources whether the areas should be released (either wholly or in part) for resource exploration.
The Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment (PRIA) does not in any way guarantee future exploration licences or planning approvals will be granted by the NSW Government to develop resources in these areas.
Strategic Release Framework
The Strategic Release Framework for Coal and Petroleum (the Framework) allows for the controlled, strategic release and competitive allocation of coal and petroleum prospecting titles in New South Wales.
The new Framework is designed to provide greater clarity and transparency in decision making relating to where exploration activities may take place, and introduces a competitive process for determining who may undertake these activities.
The implementation of the Framework is overseen by the Advisory Body for Strategic Release (Advisory Body). The Advisory Body is an inter agency group, with an independent Chair. The Advisory Body makes recommendations to the Minister for Resources on areas that should be released (either wholly or in part) for resource exploration.
Steps in the Strategic Release Framework
- The Advisory Body considers potential release areas based on initial Resource Assessments.
- The Advisory Body requests a Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment be prepared relevant to the potential release area. Community engagement is conducted to inform this process. Public release of information will occur at this time.
- The Advisory Body makes recommendations to the Minister for Resources on a proposed release area based on assessments conducted in Steps 1–2. These recommendations are made public once considered by the NSW Government.
- The recommendations of the Advisory Body are considered by Cabinet and, if approved, the Minister for Resources releases an area for exploration and invites companies to apply for a prospecting title.
- Only applicants that meet pre–qualification minimum standards will be permitted to participate in an auction process. If the reserve price for the release area is reached, a successful applicant is recommended by the Advisory Body to the Minister for Resources.
- The Minister for Resources seeks Cabinet endorsement of the successful application.
- The successful applicant is granted the prospecting title. This information is made public.
Strategic Release Framework Authorities
|Advisory Body for Strategic Release||Reviews reports and recommends assessment of the release of an area for resource exploration.|
|Department of Planning and Environment – Planning Services||Undertakes the Preliminary Regional Issues Assessment to inform the Advisory body about social, environmental and economic issues.|
|Department of Planning and Environment – Division of Resources and Geosciences||Oversees the granting of exploration licences and the Strategic Release Framework consideration for resource exploration.|
|Minister for Resources||Determines areas for consideration based on the advice of the Advisory Body for Strategic Release.|
|Cabinet||Endorses Ministerial recommendations for granting of exploration licences.|