Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework

In response to the Report of the Montara Commission of Inquiry, the Australian Government agreed that in responding to future offshore petroleum incidents, a central incident coordination committee be convened and chaired by the Department of Industry. The Committee is the Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Committee (OPICC).

The Australian Government Crisis Management Framework (AGCMF) outlines that leadership of the Australian Government’s response to a crisis will, in the first instance, be the responsibility of the relevant portfolio minister. In the event of a significant petroleum incident in Commonwealth waters, the Minister for Industry is the lead Commonwealth Minister.

The Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework (the Framework) outlines the governance arrangements for the OPICC, including its purpose, membership and key protocols for member agencies.

The OPICC’s purpose is to effectively coordinate Australian Government efforts and resources, and communicate to the public and affected stakeholders all matters relevant to a significant offshore petroleum incident in Commonwealth waters. The OPICC’s roles and responsibilities are:

  • providing leadership and strategic coordination in response to an incident;
  • developing and communicating a common operating picture on behalf of the Australian Government
  • reporting to relevant Ministers and governments on the conduct and associated risks of emergency and response operations
  • developing and implementing a whole-of-government approach to media management in response to the incident
  • developing and implementing a whole-of-government approach to community engagement in response to the incidentd
  • providing support to the Control Agency as required.

The Framework recognises and is intended to interface with other emergency incident response/coordination frameworks, including titleholders’ Oil Pollution Emergency Plans, the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies, the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework and other whole of Australian Government Crisis Management Plans, and State or Northern Territory marine pollution contingency plans as appropriate.

The OPICC is not a mechanism to:

  • deploy Commonwealth resources for the operational response. Deploying resources is, in the first instance, the offshore petroleum titleholder’s responsibility and shall be coordinated in accordance with their Oil Pollution Emergency Plan and other regulatory instruments
  • incident control or implementing operational response arrangements. This is the responsibility of the Control Agency (as defined in the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies)
  • assume regulatory responsibilities, which remain at all times with the relevant regulatory agencies.

The decision to activate the OPICC will be determined by the scale and nature of the incident and may be taken by the responsible officers within the Department of Industry in consultation with other agencies and regulators.

The OPICC is convened and chaired by a Deputy Secretary of the Department of Industry (or his/her delegate) and includes senior representatives from key agencies, other relevant government agencies at Commonwealth and State/Territory level and industry representatives where appropriate. The exact OPICC composition will be determined by the Chair depending on the nature of the incident.

Key agencies include:

  • Department of Industry (Chair)
  • De
    partment of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Other agencies that may be included in the OPICC as needed include:

  • Department of the Environment
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Geoscience Australia
  • Department of Industry’s National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator
  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection
  • Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
  • Attorney-General’s Department, Crisis Coordination Centre
  • other government agencies (Commonwealth, State and Northern Territory).

More information

For more information about the Offshore Petroleum Incident Coordination Framework contact:

Manager, Environment Safety and Security
Resources Division
Department of Industry
GPO Box 9839


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