A re-elected Liberal National government will commission an independent audit of NOPSEMA’s current consideration of exploration in the Great Australian Bight.The Liberal National Government recognises that the Great Australian Bight and the surrounding region are important to local communities, and the fishing and tourism industries. The region is known for its unique environment and deserves strong protection.Australia has one of the safest regimes for offshore oil and gas in the world. There are very strict safety and environmental standards and the industry is overseen by Australia’s independent regulator NOPSEMA (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority).The Liberal National Government recognises community concerns around drilling in the Great Australian Bight and community groups are seeking further assurance of environmental protection.The Liberal National Government will commission an independent audit, to be conducted by the Chief Scientist, to provide this additional level of assurance to the communityThe independent audit will be jointly commissioned by the Minister for Resources and the Minister for the Environment. The Chief Scientist will be asked to work with NOPSEMA to assure all environmental considerations are thoroughly considered as part of the assessment process and decision making of the independent regulator. The audit will be conducted in tandem with the assessment process.The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) is Australia’s independent regulator for health and safety, well integrity and environmental management for offshore oil and gas activities in Commonwealth waters and in coastal waters where regulatory powers and functions have been conferred. NOPSEMA was established on 1 January 2012.Exploratory drilling proposals will continue to be assessed by NOPSEMA, which has an independent assessment process underway under Australian law.