Pay into the fund to offset development
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The transitional price cap rule will expire on 16 October 2023. The prices of credits capped under the transitional price cap rule will increase once the cap is removed. The extent of this increase will vary.
This page has been updated with information on how to obtain a BCF charge quote and pay into the BCF before the transitional price cap expires.
Transitional Cap for Biodiversity Conservation Fund payments expires 16 October 2023
The Biodiversity Offsets Payment Calculator (BOPC) Order 2022 included Transitional price cap rules to enable a staged introduction of the BCF Charge System in a way to minimise significant market shocks. The transitional price cap rules for the calculation of Charges for the Biodiversity Conservation Fund (BCF) Charge System within the BOPC Order will expire at midnight on 16 October 2023.
Part B of the BCF Charge Quote identifies credit types affected by the transitional price cap and identifies the expiry date for quotes related to price-capped credits as 16 October 2023.
The prices of credits capped under the transitional price cap rule will increase once the cap is removed. The extent of this increase will vary.
Information for proponents seeking a BCF Charge Quote
New BCF Charge Quote applications for credits with a capped price must be submitted by midnight 9 October 2023 to receive the capped prices. This is to allow the BCT sufficient time for a BCF Charge Quote to be issued and to provide sufficient time for the proponent to submit a BCF payment application before 16 October. BCF Charge Quote applications received on or after 10 October (or those where consent has not been finalised) will be issued from 17 October with the uncapped BOPC price.
Summary of key dates
9 October 2023 – last date that new BCF Charge Quote applications with capped prices will be accepted.
16 October 2023 – last date to submit an application to make payment to the BCF if a quote has a capped price. Payment to the BCF of the capped price must be finalised within 30 days of receipt of invoice from BCT).
16 October 2023 (midnight) – Transitional price cap rule expires.
17 October 2023 – BCT will commence issuing BCF Charge Quotes with uncapped prices. Expired quotes will be reissued after this date if a payment application is made for an expired quote.
Under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, development proponents may choose to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund as an alternative to retiring biodiversity credits.
Under the BCF Charge System you are required to obtain a Charge Quote from the BCT prior to making a payment into the fund. When issuing a Charge Quote, the BCT will also provide a payment application form which you can submit to make a final payment.
Charge Quotes are valid for up to three years in most circumstances. Indexation will be charged for each month between when the Charge Quote is issued and when the payment is made. Charge Quotes apply to specific development proposals and are not transferable.
The time to prepare a Charge Quote will vary depending on the number of credits submitted with the application. Charge Quotes for small obligations (less than 50 credits and/or less than four ecosystem credit types) will be issued in under 10 working days. Charge Quotes for large obligations (50 or more credits or four or more ecosystem credit types) will be issued in under 30 working days. Very large obligations may have a longer timeframe negotiated – the BCT will contact you if this is the case.
You may seek a Charge Quote once an application that requires the retirement of credits has been submitted to a consent authority. You will need to supply evidence that the project has been submitted. You may only pay into the fund once a consent authority has issued conditions of consent that specify the number and type of credits to be retired.
There is no obligation for you to demonstrate that you have tried to find your own offsets before paying into the fund. That is, paying into the fund is available as an option as soon as a development has been approved and a legal requirement to retire credits exists.
All correspondence relating to Charge Quotes and Payments should be made to the BCT BCF Quotes and Payments Mailbox - [email protected]
Receiving a Charge Quote to make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund
The process for obtaining a Charge Quote to make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund is as follows:
- Applicant submits a completed Charge Quote Application form to obtain a Charge Quote Statement.
- BCT will review the application and provide a Quote Number (3-5 business days). This will identify if additional documentation is required to prepare a Charge Quote, and the timeframes to prepare the Charge Quote Statement.
- The BCT will provide a Charge Quote Statement and Payment Application form that identifies the Credit Price and the Monthly Indexation that will apply for the credits in the application.
- This form will identify any additional documentation required to make a payment to the fund in the future.
Charge Quote Application form
A Charge Quote Application Form must be submitted before a Charge Quote can be issued. This form must be accompanied by all required supporting documentation to be considered complete (see page 1 of the form for detailed requirements), including:
- submitted development application or approved development consent conditions (or relevant approvals) – the latter will be required to make a payment;
- credit report (like for like) or similar; and
- if applicable, a statement of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits, or evidence that an application for a statement has been submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment (see below).
Payment Application form
To make a payment to the fund, it will be necessary to provide the following documentation:
- approved development consent conditions (or relevant approvals) if not submitted with the Charge Quote Application;
- a GIS shapefile of the development impact boundary; and
- if applicable, Commonwealth conditions of approval if the payment is also meeting an Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 Act controlled action (see Page 2 of the Charge Quote Application)
If the above information has already been submitted with the Charge Quote Application, then this does not need to be re-submitted when making a payment into the fund.
Paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund
The process for paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund is as follows:
- Applicant submits a completed Charge Quote Statement and Payment Application form identifying the credits for which payment is to be made.
- BCT will review the application and confirm the final charge to be paid including indexation (3-5 business days). The BCT may request additional documentation required to process the application if not provided.
- BCT will advise in writing whether the application has been approved and will provide payment details if it has (payment term is twenty eight calendar days).
- Applicant submits Recipient Created Tax Invoice or request BCT issue an invoice (3-5 business days).
- Applicant makes the payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
- BCT will confirm receipt of payment and issue a certificate under section 6.33 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (3-5 business days).
You can use the certificate issued by the BCT to prove to the consent authority (e.g. local Council) that the relevant consent condition has been met.
If a development proponent holds an offset obligation that was calculated using the BioBanking Assessment Methodology (BBAM) or Framework for Biodiversity Assessment (FBA), they will need to seek a ‘statement of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits’ from the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) before obtaining a Charge Quote to make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund. For further information about equivalence statements, please visit the DPE website, call 1800 931 717 or email: [email protected]
If a Charge Quote Application is submitted before the statement of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits has been obtained, the BCT will hold the application until the statement is provided. This is because the BCT requires the final Offset Trading Group to be identified to allow preparation of the Charge Quote Statement.