The 2000 edition of Year Book Australia contains details of various administrative arrangements related to mining and mineral exploration activities. Additional information covering pricing and taxation issues for petroleum are also covered there.
Mineral rights in Australia are held by the State and Territory Governments, and the granting of exploration and mining titles is administered by them under the respective State or Territory legislation. The Commonwealth Government holds rights to minerals on Australia's continental shelf beyond coastal waters of the States and the Northern Territory, and to certain prescribed substances in the Northern Territory, within the meaning of the Atomic Energy Act (principally uranium). The Commonwealth Government has constitutional powers with respect to international trade, customs and excise, taxation and foreign investment.
Mineral resources are owned by the Crown in Australia, either by the State and Territory Governments within their borders (and up to three nautical miles offshore), or by the Commonwealth Government in offshore areas outside the three nautical mile limit. Accordingly, royalties are collected by State and Territory Governments for mining onshore and up to three nautical miles offshore, and by the Commonwealth outside that area.
State royalties regulations vary in regard to types of royalties, rates levied and those commodities subject to royalties.
In recent years, some State Governments have negotiated special royalty arrangements with companies which are seeking mineral leases for large-scale developments. These royalty rates may vary, depending on whether production is for export or for domestic processing.
The Commonwealth Minister for Industry, Science and Resources has portfolio responsibility for national energy policy matters, including the commercial development of hydrocarbon fuels and minerals in the Australian offshore area. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources provides support for a number of advisory bodies including the Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council, and the National Oil Supplies Emergency Committee.
The Department is also responsible for action required from Australia's membership of the International Energy Agency and for the national system of accounting for control of nuclear materials under Australia's Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.