Whilst the Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act 2000 enables petroleum companies to access land for exploration and production purposes, it also recognises the rights of landholders. There are clear obligations for explorers to notify and consult with landholders and provide sufficient information to enable them to make an informed decision about the impact or potential impact of the proposed operation on the land.
Some areas of South Australia are protected land (i.e. land proclaimed or reserved for conservation purposes). Approximately 78% of onshore areas under proclamation allow access for petroleum exploration and development.
Aboriginal land accounts for 19% of the land of South Australia. Penalties exist for damage to Aboriginal cultural and archaeological sites and licence holders are encouraged to liaise with Aboriginal people to assist with the protection of Aboriginal heritage and related matters.
Each application for a Petroleum Exploration Licence over land where Native Title may exist requires a separate Native Title Agreement.