Pay into the fund to offset development
Under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, development proponents may choose to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund as an alternative to retiring biodiversity credits.
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.
Paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund
The process for paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund is as follows:
- Applicant submits a completed application form to pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
- BCT will review the application and provide a reference number (3-5 business days).
- BCT will advise in writing whether the application has been approved and will provide payment details if it has (payment term is seven 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.
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.
An application form must be submitted before payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund occurs. This form must be accompanied by all required supporting documentation to be considered complete (see page 3 of the form for detailed requirements), including:
- development consent conditions (or relevant approvals);
- credit reports or a summary of credit calculations;
- a GIS shapefile of the development impact boundary;
- statement of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits, or evidence that an application for a statement has been submitted to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (if applicable – see below); and
- biodiversity offsets payment calculator output showing the developer charge for each credit type, current at the time the application is submitted.
The BCT will honour the biodiversity offsets payment calculator charge that is current on the date that a complete application is received by the BCT.
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, Industry and Environment (DPIE) before paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund. For further information about equivalence statements, please visit the DPIE website, call 1800 931 717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In cases where an equivalence statement is required, evidence that an application for an equivalence statement has been submitted to DPIE may be submitted with an application to pay into the BCF. The BCT will honour the biodiversity offsets payment calculator charge that is available at that time, through to the date when the equivalence statement is finalised. Once the credit equivalence statement is finalised, the applicant will need to forward the statement to the BCT and amend page 2 of the application form to pay into the BCF to confirm the number of credits to be discharged, total payment per credit type, GST and total payment amount. If a new biodiversity offsets payment calculator charge is available at the time the credit equivalence statement is finalised, a proponent may choose to re-apply to the BCT using the revised charge.