The State Government will introduce legislation that will prohibit offshore petroleum drilling projects such as PEP11 in NSW coastal waters.
The government said the legislation reaffirmed its long-held position of not supporting offshore mineral, coal or petroleum exploration or mining for commercial purposes in or adjacent to coastal waters.
"We know an overwhelming majority of people in NSW do not support offshore mining. The passage of this Bill will give certainty that our government is prioritising environmental protection and our own local interests," Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe said.
"This Bill is a sensible amendment to our legislation to protect NSW against the risks of offshore mining."
The PEP11 project was sensationally stopped late in 2021 when former Prime Minister Scott Morrison intervened directly to override the resources minister of the day, Keith Pitt.
Asset Energy is waiting for its permit to return to the joint panel under the NSW Minns government and federal Resources Minister Madeleine King.
Asset Energy executive director David Breeze previously called on the NSW and Federal governments to urgently reconsider their position on gas exploration offshore Newcastle as part of the solution to the east coast energy crisis.
The NSW Government's Bill is designed to prevent the severe environmental impacts, such as oil spills and potential climate change impacts that can result from offshore exploration and recovery of petroleum and minerals.
However, a Parliamentary Committee, convened by the Labor Government, recommended that the Bill should not be passed.
The committee argued that key aspects of the bill may be constitutionally invalid or have unintended consequences.
The government's legislation will amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 to prohibit: sea bed petroleum and mineral exploration and recovery in NSW coastal waters; and other development within the state for the purposes of sea bed petroleum and mineral exploration and recovery anywhere.
The prohibitions of the Bill do not extend to activities which may benefit the environment such as the recovery of sand for beach nourishment or beach scraping which are undertaken to help protect coastal areas from erosion.
Certain dredging activities could also continue, for example, to increase the depth of anchorages, remove sediments or pollutants, lay pipelines or submarine cables.
If passed, it will make NSW the first state to comprehensively to prohibit all offshore petroleum mining and exploration in state waters. Only the Northern Territory, in 2021, has prohibited sea bed mineral mining across that jurisdiction.
"This is about providing communities with certainty that is in the best interest of NSW as well as protecting the NSW coastal waters and marine environments," Minister for the Central Coast, David Harris said.
'This is something our communities have long campaigned for and it is great to see it come to fruition."