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Australian Offshore Petroleum Regulation: Defining and Protecting the National Interest

Henry Cooney

The notion that a nation owes the benefit of its natural resources to the nation’s people has survived the advent of capitalism. This apparently simple concept, however, belies a host of complex issues. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the regulation of offshore petroleum exploitation in Australia. This article argues that the national interest in offshore petroleum regulation is not sufficiently protected by the current Australian regulatory framework. This is troubling, as failure to protect the national interest in offshore petroleum regulation can result in the loss of economic value to Australia. This article considers the current offshore petroleum regulatory regime, and proposes the first steps necessary to define and protect Australia’s national interest in offshore petroleum regulation.

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