253 landholders

have established biodiversity stewardship sites

More than 48,185 hectares

protected under biodiversity stewardship agreements

$8.9 million

paid to landholders in last 12 months

465 developers

have paid into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund

$160.35 million

paid to secure biodiversity offsets

100 per cent of offsets

secured under like-for-like credit rules

The NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme was established under Part 6 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The scheme is administered by the Environment, Energy and Science Group within the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. To find out more about the scheme visit the DPIE website.


Outcomes dashboard

Biodiversity Offsets Program dashboard data as at 31 December 2022
BOP outcomes dashboard

Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Roles

The BCT has four roles under the scheme. To find out more about the BCT’s roles, visit our Biodiversity Offsets Program page.

Facilitating the supply of biodiversity offsets

Landholders wishing to generate and sell biodiversity credits can apply to the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust to enter a biodiversity stewardship agreement (BSA).

As of 31 December 2022, 253 landholders have entered BSAs, creating biodiversity stewardship sites across 48,185 hectares. This includes biobanking agreements established under former legislation and new BSAs. 

As a result, many threatened ecosystems and habitats for NSW’s threatened native plant and animal species are being protected and managed by private landholders. This will maintain and improve the biodiversity conservation values at these sites, in the long term.

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust manages all active biodiversity stewardship agreements by reviewing annual reports, undertaking annual site inspections and, if management actions have been completed, making annual management payments to the landholder.

Map of biodiversity stewardship agreements in New South Wales
Map of biodiversity stewardship agreements in New South Wales

Managing Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund

A central component of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is the requirement that, upon the sale of credits, a landholder deposit a specified amount of money into the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund (also known as the total fund deposit). The BCT invests these funds and draws on the proceeds of investment of these funds, to make annual management payments to owners of active biodiversity stewardship sites. Sites go into active management when landholders have sold enough credits to meet their total fund deposit in full.

As of 31 December 2022, the BCT held total assets of $201m in the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund. The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust has made $8.9 million in annual management payments to the holders of active biodiversity stewardship sites in the past 12 months.

The BCT is the appointed Fund Manager for the Biodiversity Stewardship Payments Fund. The BCT manages the Fund in accordance with a comprehensive Funds and Investment Management Framework approved by the BCT Board. Among other things, the Framework requires the BCT to seek regular actuarial and investment management advice to support investment management decisions. The BCT’s investment adviser and manager is NSW Treasury Corporation, one of the biggest investment managers in Australia. You can find out more about our investment management performance by reading our annual reports.

Securing offsets on behalf of developers

Under the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, developers can choose to meet an offset obligation by making a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund. Once that payment is made, the legal obligation to secure the offsets transfers to the BCT. The BCT must secure offsets in line with legislated offset rules (set out in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017).

465 developers

have made payments as of 31 December 2022

$160.35 million

of payments made into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund

7532 offset obligations

(no. of credits) purchased by the BCT

The BCT's report on acquitted obligations provides information on the obligations that have been fully acquitted to date.

The BCT aims to acquit all offset obligations transferred from developers to the BCT within five years and a median of offset obligations by dollar value within three years.

All BCT credit purchases are recorded on the Biobanking and Biodiversity Offset Scheme public registers by the Department of Planning and Environment.

To date, the BCT has secured offsets via six biodiversity offset credit tenders and four biodiversity credit fixed price offers.

This tender targeted ecosystem credits representing some of the most threatened bushland in Western Sydney, including the critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland and Shale Sandstone Transition Forest. We received a strong response to the tender and purchased over 2,300 ecosystem credits from 11 biodiversity stewardship sites in Western Sydney.

Some of these credits have been used to acquit developer offset obligations as well as to meet objectives of the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program (see below).

The remaining credits are being held by the BCT in anticipation of future developer payments into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund. By building a strategic portfolio of credits, the BCT can manage risks associated with fluctuating credit prices, take advantage of economies of scale and save on future administration costs associated with securing offsets.

Under this tender, the BCT targeted ecosystem and species credits in the Sydney-Hunter and South East regions of NSW, that were needed to acquit offset obligations held by the BCT.

Subscription to this tender was modest, however the BCT was able to secure Squirrel Glider and Southern Myotis species credits from two biodiversity stewardship sites in the Hunter region. 

The BCT ran the first state-wide biodiversity credit tender in July 2019, targeting ecosystem and species credits that could be used to acquit offset obligations held by the BCT.

The tender was well subscribed and the BCT has purchased or is in the process of purchasing, 1,759 ecosystem credits from 5 biodiversity stewardship sites in the Central West, Northern Inland, Sydney-Hunter and North Coast regions.

Through these purchases, the BCT will be helping landholders to protect and manage areas of the:

  • Box Gum Woodland endangered ecological community in Narrabri Shire Council and Bathurst Regional Council Local Government Areas (LGAs)
  • Hunter Lowland Redgum endangered ecological community in the Port Stephens Council LGA
  • Coastal Swamp Forests in the Richmond Valley Shire Council LGA
  • Sydney Coastal Dry Sclerophyll Forests and Hunter Macleay Dry Forests in the Port Stephens Council LGA.

The credits secured from this tender will offset impacts from a variety of developments, including a quarry, wind farm, coal mines, residential developments and a high school.

The BCT offered its first biodiversity fixed price offer in late 2018, seeking to purchase a range of ecosystem and species credits at an advertised fixed price. Results from this process will be announced once this process is concluded.

Securing offsets on behalf of government

Approx. 148 hectares

of Commonwealth-listed Cumberland Plain Woodland protected

Approx. 8 hectares

of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest protected

The BCT can be funded by the Australian and/or NSW governments to secure offsets under place-based biodiversity offsets schemes. Since 2017-18, the NSW Government has commissioned the BCT to deliver offsets under the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program, which operates in Western Sydney.

Targets under this program are expressed in hectares, and from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2022, the BCT protected approximately 213 hectares of Commonwealth-listed Cumberland Plain Woodland (against a long-term program target of 2,400 hectares) by purchasing credits from eleven biodiversity stewardship sites.

During this period, the BCT also protected approximately 42 hectares of Shale Sandstone Transition Forest (against a program target of 132 hectares) and a population of threatened Spiked Rice-flower (Pimelia spicata) from two biodiversity stewardship sites.