Biodiversity Offsets Program
The NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is administered by the Office of Environment and Heritage.
The BCT has four roles under the scheme:
The BCT facilitates the supply of biodiversity credits. Landholders wishing to generate and sell biodiversity credits can apply to the BCT to enter a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements (BSA). Once signed, the BCT manages the agreement by making annual biodiversity stewardship payments to the landholder for carrying out conservation management actions on the site. The BCT ensures compliance.
The BCT is the Fund Manager for the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund. When biodiversity credits are sold, the landholder must deposit a specified amount of money into the fund. The BCT invests these funds with NSW Treasury Corporation and uses the funds and proceeds from investment to make the annual biodiversity stewardship payments to the BSA holder.
The BCT acts as a market intermediary. Developers with an offset obligation can buy biodiversity credits in the market or they can make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund at a price set by OEH. If they do, the obligation to procure the biodiversity credits transfers to the BCT. This enables developers to proceed with the development while allowing the BCT to bundle credit obligations and secure strategic offset outcomes.
The BCT is funded by government to procure offsets under various place-specific biodiversity offsets schemes, such as the Western Sydney Growth Centres Program.
What are biodiversity credits and how do they work?
Biodiversity credits are generated by landowners who commit to enhance and protect the biodiversity values on their land through a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement.
Biodiversity credits represent the expected improvement in biodiversity that will result from the protection and management of the site.
There are two main groups of credits: ecosystem credits and species credits.
Biodiversity credits can then be sold to developers or the BCT to offset the impacts of development occurring elsewhere. The credits could also be sold to those seeking to invest in conservation outcomes, including philanthropic organisations or government. The sale of biodiversity credits generates ongoing permanent funding for the management of the site. The sale may also generate a profit for the landowner.
What is a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement?
A Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement is a voluntary agreement between the BCT and a landholder to permanently protect and manage an area of land. It enables you to generate biodiversity credits which you can sell to a developer, the BCT or other interested parties.
Learn more about Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements.
How does the BCT facilitate supply of biodiversity credits?
Landholders can apply to BCT at any time to enter a biodiversity stewardship agreement (BSA) to generate and sell biodiversity credits. Once the credits are sold, BSA holders receive annual, in-perpetuity biodiversity stewardship payments to manage the land and biodiversity on the offset site. They may also make a profit from the sale of credits.
How does the BCT secure biodiversity offsets?
The BCT uses four delivery mechanisms to secure biodiversity offsets:
Biodiversity Credit Fixed Rate Offers: BCT may invite offers from credit sellers at a fixed price. Open offers will be made where there is a low volume of credits available but medium to high potential supply from new BSAs. BCT will use targeted offers when there is only one credit owner with credits wanted.
Biodiversity Credit Tenders: BCT may call for expressions of interest from credit sellers to participate in a biodiversity credit tender. Open tenders will be used when there is a medium to high volume of high demand credits available, or potentially available; and targeted tenders when more than one landowner can satisfy all or a proportion of credits wanted.
Revolving Fund: BCT may use the revolving fund to purchase properties for sale that have the potential to generate biodiversity credits needed by BCT. Properties will be sold with a pre-commitment agreement to enter a funded biodiversity stewardship agreement, or with a BSA in place.
Biodiversity Conservation Actions: Under the Biodiversity Offset Scheme rules, the BCT may sometimes be required to fund biodiversity conservation actions, instead of procuring site-based offsets. The BCT may identify and fund high-priority investment options or may invite tenders to supply conservation projects
Learn more about how we secure Biodiversity Credits from landholders.
What is the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Scheme?
The Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Scheme aims to protect some of the best remaining bushland in Western Sydney for current and future generations.
The Scheme is achieving this by buying land for new reserves and funding agreements with landowners to permanently conserve their land. This land is being protected by the NSW Government to offset the impacts on biodiversity that will be caused by the development of the North West and South West Growth Centres.
Since it's introduction in 2008, the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Scheme has permanently protected 567 hectares of land at 13 locations in Western Sydney.
These sites protect threatened plant communities, including critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland and provide valuable habitat for threatened animal species.
What is the Biodiversity Conservation Fund?
The Biodiversity Conservation Trust manages the Biodiversity Conservation Fund. Developers or other participants can make a payment into the Fund to fulfil their biodiversity credit obligation. The BCT then takes on the obligation to purchase or find these biodiversity credits.
As payments are made into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund, the BCT will list the credits sought by the BCT to acquit proponent offset on the Credits Demand Register of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme public registers maintained by OEH.
Any landholders who have credits that match these obligations or equivalent like-for-like credit alternatives are encouraged to contact the BCT on email@example.com or by calling 1300 992 688.
More information about this program
Download the Biodiversity Offsets Program Factsheet