Joint Authorities

Key functions

The Joint Authorities have the power to make certain decisions under the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 (OPGGSA). These decisions relate to, but are not limited to, the granting of petroleum titles, the imposition of title conditions and cancellation of titles, as well as decisions about resource management and resource security.

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 (eg the Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands).

Current Joint Authority members and the departments of their delegates

Jurisdiction Member Department
Commonwealth The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
Western Australia The Hon. William (Bill) Joseph Johnston MLA Department of Mines and Petroleum
Victoria The Hon. Wade Noonan MP Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Northern Territory The Hon. Kenneth Edward Vowles MLA Department of Primary Industry and Resources
South Australia The Hon. Tom Koutsantonis MP Department of State Development
New South Wales The Hon. Donald Harwin MLC Department of Planning and Environment
Queensland The Hon. Anthony Lynham MP Department of Natural Resources and Mines


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, the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator (NOPTA), the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management Authority (NOPSEMA) and other stakeholders. The Joint Authority Protocol includes indicative timeframes for the processing of applications.