Apply for an agreement to generate credits
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Please note that as of 27 July 2022, management of the BSA application processes will be handed over to Credit Supply Taskforce (CST) at DPE. This means expression of interest, application, and variation processes for BSAs will no longer be managed by the BCT. Landholders at these stages of the BSA process should visit the BSA taskforce webpage for more information.
The BCT is still supporting landholders following the establishment of a BSA. This includes conducting annual site visits and supporting the annual reporting process. In light of this change, the BCT will be updating some of the information on this page in the coming weeks.
If you are a landholder, company or local council, you may wish to enter a biodiversity stewardship agreement that will generate biodiversity credits for sale. Useful resources about these agreements and the application process are available on our Biodiversity stewardship agreement (BSA) information page.
Any landholder considering entering a biodiversity stewardship agreement with the BCT to generate and sell biodiversity credits should conduct appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that there will be or is likely to be demand for the biodiversity credits that may be able to be generated.
The BCT cannot provide advice as to whether a BSA is a financially viable option for a landholder. Landholders should consider seeking advice from suitably qualified advisers, such as accredited assessors. For information about accredited assessors, please visit the DPE Accredited Assessors register.
For more information about the number, type and location of credits available for purchase, or credits which are required, please visit DPE’s Credit Supply and Credit Demand registers.
For information about credits the BCT is seeking to purchase, please visit the BCT’s Wanted Credits List.
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.
They represent the expected improvement in biodiversity that will result from the protection and management of the site.
Landholders (or their representatives) negotiate the sale price of their biodiversity credits with the credit buyer, which may include developers, the BCT or other interested parties. A portion of the sale price must be paid into the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund to cover the costs of managing the site in-perpetuity. Any remaining income from the credit sale is kept by the landholder as profit.
What are biodiversity stewardship agreements?
A biodiversity stewardship agreement is a voluntary agreement between the BCT and a landholder to permanently protect and manage an area of land to improve its biodiversity values. It enables you to generate biodiversity credits, which you can sell to:
- a developer; or
- to the BCT; or
- to other interested parties.
The agreement doesn’t have to cover all of your land – you can choose a portion as an agreement site to be protected and continue normal activities outside this site. You can even undertake some activities on a stewardship site - such as strategic grazing or an ecotourism venture - provided the activity doesn’t have negative impacts on the biodiversity values of the land.
When it comes to managing your agreement site, you can choose to undertake the biodiversity management activities yourself, or use contracted bush regenerators. Either way, annual payments should cover your costs.
Visit the Biodiversity stewardship agreement (BSA) information page for useful resources about these agreements and the process of application.
Documents which support your application are available below.
- BSA supporting documents
- Taxation Issues Landholder Guide for details about taxation and council rates under a BSA*
- Nominated bank account form
- BSA template
- BSA management plan template
The information in this document is general in nature and is intended as a guide only. It is not designed to be, nor should it be regarded, as legal or accounting advice. The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) will not accept liability for any reliance on the content of this document.
The BCT also notes that the business and financial structure for each landholder or entity managing a biodiversity stewardship site or conservation area is likely to be unique. Therefore, the way taxation law applies will depend on individual circumstances.
The BCT encourages landholders to obtain independent advice on taxation that considers their specific circumstances before (and ongoing after) entering a private land conservation agreement.