I need more information

Question: I’m a Developer Seeking to discharge my offset obligation

You have an approved Development Application with a requirement to retire biodiversity credits.

There are three ways to do this:

• You can purchase the required credits in the market. For more information see the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) website.

• If you have a site that you believe is suitable, the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) can develop a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) with you to meet your credit requirements.  Please see Question on Developers setting up a BSA.

• You can pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund (BCF) and by doing so, you fulfil your offset obligations. The BCT then needs to source the appropriate credits. You use the Biodiversity Offsets Payment Calculator  to determine the cost of your credit obligation, and apply to the BCT to make a deposit into the fund. Once the payment is authorised by the BCT and you deposit the funds into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund, the BCT is then responsible for identifying and securing the credits.

What happens to existing obligations?

• The offset scheme commenced on 25 February 2018, so proponents can now meet their offset obligations calculated in accordance with the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) by payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund (BCF).

• For any pre-existing credit obligations calculated under an old offset method (BioBanking Assessment Method or Framework for Biodiversity Assessment) proponents first need to have these credits converted to reasonably equivalent BAM credits by OEH before they can make a payment into the BCF. OEH has developed a process for credit conversions. Please contact OEH on 1800 931 717 or email lmbc.support@environment.nsw.gov.au.

What is the BCT?

• The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust enables landholders to manage and enhance land of high biodiversity value for long-term conservation.

• The BCT can deliver offsets for proponents who choose to meet their offset obligation by paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.

• If you decide to discharge your offset obligations by paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund, you have fulfilled your offset obligation and it becomes the BCT’s responsibility to retire those credits on your behalf.

How do I contact the BCT?

By calling 1300 992 688 or by emailing info@bct.nsw.gov.au

Please also look for information and updates on our website www.bct.nsw.gov.au

Question: I’m a Developer seeking to establish a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA)

What is a BSA?

Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements are in-perpetuity agreements registered on title. The land is protected and managed to achieve a gain in biodiversity values. This generates ‘biodiversity credits’ which can be used to offset the impacts of approved developments elsewhere.

What are the steps to establishing a BSA?

Step 1: Confirm you and your site are eligible.
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/biodiversity/schemeprocess.htm

Step 2: Have a biodiversity assessment undertaken

You will need an accredited assessor to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) to the site. The assessor will produce a Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Report that will set out the type and number of credits generated if a BSA is implemented on the site, and a proposed management plan for the site, which will be included in the biodiversity stewardship agreement. 

A list of assessors is available on the OEH website.

Step 3: The Management Plan

The BSA will include a management plan that sets out proposed annual management actions and the cost of those actions.

What involvement does the BCT have once my BSA has been established?

The BCT can provided advice and support. The BCT will also undertake annual audits of your property to ensure compliance with the management obligations of your BSA, and is also responsible for making your annual management payments.

Am I able to sell the property once I have established a BSA?

Yes, however there are conditions that need to be met. The purchaser must pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test (Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 clause 5.3 refers). Your BSA agreement will provide details of what needs to be done before a sale can be made.

What is the BCT?

• The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust enables landholders to manage and enhance land of high biodiversity value for long-term conservation.

• The BCT can deliver offsets for proponents who choose to meet their offset obligation by paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.

• If you decide to discharge your offset obligations by paying into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund, you have fulfilled your offset obligation and it becomes the BCT’s responsibility to retire those credits on your behalf.

How do I get in touch with the BCT?

By calling 1300 992 688 or by emailing info@bct.nsw.gov.au

Please also look for information and updates on our website www.bct.nsw.gov.au

 

Question: I’m a Landholder with an existing agreement

What do I need to do?

Nothing. Your agreement has transitioned to the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT).

What agreements are transitioning to the BCT?

All prior agreements have transitioned to the BCT. You might have any one of the following:

• Wildlife refuge under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
• Conservation agreement under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
• Trust agreement under the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001
• Registered property agreement under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997
• Termed registered property agreement under the Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997
• Biobanking agreement under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

What is the Conservation Partners Program?

The Conservation Partners Program offers Conservation Agreements and Wildlife Refuge Agreements to landholders who wish to conserve biodiversity on their land.

The program is available to landholders who are not seeking or are ineligible for conservation management payments (under the Conservation Management Program).

The Conservation Partners program includes the Landholder Technical Support Package and the Conservation Partners Grants program. Under the Conservation Partners Program, applications can be made at any time.

The Landholder Technical Support Package

The Landholder Technical Support Package includes workshops, field days, newsletters, advice and the opportunity to participate in ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The BCT will always ask and seek your permission for a site visit, and encourages you to participate in monitoring or ecological assessments.   The frequency of site visits will vary according to ecological and management factors, but the BCT aims to visit every five years for in-perpetuity agreements.

By having a registered agreement for conservation on your property with the BCT you are part of a group of over 1700 landholders across NSW, who are similarly committed to conservation outcomes on private land.  The BCT recognises that conservation on private land is a long-term journey, and so provides a range of resources and services termed as the “Landholder Technical Support Package” to support you on this pathway.

Click here to link to the Landholder Technical Support Package fact sheet.

The Conservation Partners Grants

All existing and new agreements holders that do not receive annual conservation management payments from the BCT can apply for Conservation Partners Grants.

The BCT offers Conservation Partners Grants on an ongoing basis. Three levels of funding are available:

• Up to $15,000 per year for up to 3 years will be available for in-perpetuity agreements

• $8,000 for fixed-term Registered Property Agreements

• $2,000 for entry-level agreements including Wildlife Refuge Agreements, and Land for Wildlife and Wildlife Land Trust (managed by Humane Society International).

Landholders will be able to apply for funding at any time so they can undertake an activity when needed, with applications assessed regularly. For more complex activities a site visit will be required by a BCT Landholder Support Officer or Ecologist. Landholders can only apply for one grant at a time but can apply for another grant once the first is acquitted.

Click here to link to the Conservation Partners Grants fact sheet.

What is the BCT?

• The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust enables landholders to manage and enhance land of high biodiversity value for long-term conservation.

• Landholders who enter into or have an existing voluntary agreement to conserve and manage biodiversity can access technical support and grants.

• The process is driven by you and the vision you have for your land. Our local staff will have conversations with you about the areas on your property you want or have previously protected and how they those areas can best be managed.

How do I get in touch with the BCT?

By calling 1300 992 688 or by emailing info@bct.nsw.gov.au

Please also look for information and updates on our website www.bct.nsw.gov.au



Question: I’m a Landholder seeking a new agreement

What types of agreements are there?

Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements are in-perpetuity agreements and are registered on the property title. These sites generate ‘biodiversity credits’ which can be sold to offset the impacts of approved developments elsewhere. Landholders receive ongoing annual management payments and a potential profit from credit sales, once the credits are sold.

Conservation Agreements are registered on the property title, and may be either in-perpetuity or for a fixed-term. In some areas of the State, Conservation Agreements may attract annual management payments, providing an alternative income stream for landholders. Elsewhere, one-off grants will be available for direct costs of management actions such as fencing or weed control.

Wildlife Refuge Agreements are an entry-level agreement for interested landholders wishing to protect biodiversity on their land.  Wildlife refuges are in-perpetuity agreements that can be revoked by the landholder at any time.


Which agreement type is right for me?

The Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements is right for you if:

• You are in an area where there is demand for the credit type you have on your land
• You wish to receive an alternative income stream that comes from offsetting development elsewhere.

The Conservation Agreements (CA’s) with ongoing annual management payments are right for your property if it is located within a high priority region in NSW (see maps at www.bct.nsw.gov.au).

• These CA’s are based on the Priority Investment Areas (see the BCT Business Plan on the BCT website)
• The pathways for entering into these agreements are Conservation Tenders and Fixed Rate Offers.

The Conservation Agreements without ongoing annual management payments.

• These Agreements are supported by the Landholder Technical Support Package and the Grants program.
• The BCT accepts applications at any time from landholders interested in entering into voluntary conservation agreements without on-going management payments.

Wildlife Refuge Agreements are an entry-level option, and are right for you if wish to protect the biodiversity on your property but do not want to enter a permanent agreement.

How do I get started?

• Contact the BCT to lodge an Expression of interest. A landholder support team member will contact you.

What is the BCT?

• The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust enables landholders to manage and enhance land of high biodiversity value for long-term conservation.

• Landholders who enter into or have an existing voluntary agreement to conserve and manage biodiversity can access technical support and grants.

• The process is driven by you and the vision you have for your land. Our local staff will have conversations with you about the areas on your property you want or have previously protected and how they those areas can best be managed.

How do I get in touch with the BCT?

By calling 1300 992 688 or by emailing info@bct.nsw.gov.au

Please also look for information and updates on our website www.bct.nsw.gov.au


Question: I’m a Landholder seeking to establish a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA)

What is a BSA?

Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements are in-perpetuity agreements, registered on the property title. The land is protected and managed to achieve an improvement in biodiversity values. This generates ‘biodiversity credits’ which can be sold to offset the impacts of approved developments elsewhere. Landholders receive ongoing annual management payments, and potentially profit from credit sales, once the credits are sold.

Is a BSA the right Agreement for me?

The Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements is right for you if:
• There is demand for the credit type you have on your land, and
• You wish to receive an alternative income stream that comes from offsetting development elsewhere.

What are the steps to establishing a BSA?

Step 1: Confirm you and your site are eligible.

You will need to establish that:

• your land meets the
eligibility criteria 
• you meet the
‘fit and proper person test’ 

In addition, the following must consent to the establishment of a BSA:
• Any mineral or petroleum licence holders
• All owners of the land (listed on the title deeds for the property)
• Any mortgagees

The site must not have previously been used for an offset (Biodiversity Assessment Method 2017, Section 13.11 refers).

Step 2a– Undertake a feasibility assessment- (optional).

You can request an accredited assessor (see Step 3 below) to undertake a feasibility assessment, to give you an understanding of what credits your site may generate, and whether there may be a demand for them. This will be a quick, cost-effective first step before committing to undertaking a full biodiversity assessment

Step 2b: Submit an EOI (optional)

You can advertise your site on OEH’s ‘expression of interest register’ to identify potential purchasers of credits, before you proceed with making a formal biodiversity assessment or application. Submitting an EOI does not carry any obligations and is free of charge.

Step 3: Have a biodiversity assessment undertaken

The landholder must employ an accredited assessor to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) to their site. The assessor will produce a Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Report that will set out the type and number of credits generated by placing a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) on the site, and a proposed management plan for the site, which will be included in the biodiversity stewardship agreement. A list of Assessors is available on the OEH website.

The agreement doesn’t have to cover all of your land – you can set aside a portion as an agreement site to be protected and continue other activities on the remainder.

Step 4: The Management Plan

The assessor will also prepare a management plan that sets out proposed annual management actions and the cost of those actions.[MS1] .

Step 5: Submitting an application

You can then submit the application form to apply for a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement. This includes the biodiversity stewardship site assessment report, and, the management plan for the site.

If your application is approved, you would then sign the Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (including management plan) with the BCT, and it is registered on the property title

Step 6: Selling your credits

It is the credit owners who are responsible for the sale of their credits. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) administers credit transactions along with the relevant registers.

All available credits will be placed on the Biodiversity Credits Register which can be used by potential buyers to find particular credits.

There is also a Credits Wanted Register which is where people list credits that they are looking for.

A credit owner may also wish to engage a third party to act as a ‘broker’ to sell their credits.

Step 7. If your credits have been sold

When a landholder has sold sufficient credits to generate 80% of the Total Fund Deposit, active management of the biodiversity stewardship site will commence.

This means:
• The landholder becomes responsible for carrying out the management actions specified in the management plan that is attached to the BSA
• The Biodiversity Conservation Trust will commence making its annual payments to the landholder, as per the terms of the BSA.

The landholder is obliged to transfer 100% of the Total Fund Deposit. Any additional money that is made from the sale of credits beyond this amount can be retained as profit by the landholder.

The Trust will make these annual payments to the landholder over the 20 year period, and the landholder is required to report annually to the Trust.  After the 20 year period, the landholder may re-apply parts of the BAM to renew the active management plan or continue to receive payments to maintain the BSA site.

The Trust is responsible for ensuring landholders comply with their obligations, and landholders may be subject to auditing and other compliance activities by the Trust or OEH.

Other questions about BSAs:

What involvement does the BCT have once my BSA has been established?

The BCT can provide advice and support and it will also undertake annual audits of your property to ensure compliance with the management obligations of your BSA. The BCT is also responsible for making your annual management payments (AMP).

Prospective credit purchasers may be willing to fund the assessment of your property.

Can I vary my BSA?

Yes, though only under certain circumstances and conditions (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 Section 5.11 refers). There are fees associated with varying a BSA and these differ depending on the circumstances and to what degree you wish to vary the agreement (Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 clause 5.2(3) refers). You will need to submit an application to do so. Please contact the BCT for more information.

Can I cancel my BSA?

Yes but only within 3 months of the agreement being entered into, or after 5 years from when the agreement was entered into and only if there have been no credits created or retired at the time of termination (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Section 5.10.6 refers). Please contact the BCT for more information.

Am I able to sell my property once I have established a BSA?

Yes, however there are conditions that need to be met by the purchaser in regard to passing a ‘fit and proper person’ test (Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 clause 5.3 refers). Your BSA agreement will provide details of what needs to be done before a sale can be made.

What is the BCT?

• The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust enables landholders to manage and enhance land of high biodiversity value for long-term conservation.

• Landholders who enter into or have an existing voluntary agreement to conserve and manage biodiversity can access technical support and grants.

• The process is driven by you and the vision you have for your land. Our local staff will have conversations with you about the areas on your property you want or have previously protected and how they those areas can best be managed.

How do I get in touch with the BCT?

By calling 1300 992 688 or by emailing info@bct.nsw.gov.au

Please also look for information and updates on our website www.bct.nsw.gov.au