Biodiversity Offsets Program
The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 introduces a new Biodiversity Offsets Scheme that will deliver a transparent, consistent and scientifically based approach to biodiversity assessment and offsetting in NSW, providing upfront certainty to proponents. The overall policy, strategy and systems for the Biodiversity Offset Scheme will be set by the Office of Environment and Heritage, while the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust will have operational responsibility for the delivery of offsets, when proponents choose to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
The purpose of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is to provide better tools to assist developers and landholders to avoid, minimise and offset (in that order) the potential impacts of development and other activities on biodiversity.
The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies to the following types of Development Applications:
- Major projects (including State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,
- Part 4 development (local development) under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, when the development is likely to significantly affect threatened species, and
- Part 5 activities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 if proponents choose to opt into the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.
Other land where the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies also includes:
- A vegetation clearing proposal which is required to be assessed by the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) under the Local Land Services Act 2016 or the Vegetation State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP),
- Land proposed to be given Biodiversity Certification, and
- Land proposed as a Biodiversity Stewardship Site.
More information about the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme can be found at www.environment.nsw.gov.au.
Under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust will be the statutory body responsible for securing offsets on behalf of development proponents when they choose to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
Information about transitional arrangements related to agreements and to the Biodiversity offsets Scheme are available on the office of Environment and Heritage website (www.environment.nsw.gov.au).