Conservation model good economics for rural communities

Landholders in NSW can confidently enter into a conservation agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust knowing the costs to manage native habitat won’t impact their bottom line.

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust offers funded conservation agreements, supporting private landholders to carry out conservation management on their property in exchange for annual indexed payments.

In addition to the critical biodiversity outcomes being secured through this funding, modelling by financial advisory body Frontier Economics has quantified the diversification benefits of a conservation agreement for primary producers and offers a framework for regular assessment against climatic and other factors.

"Our funded conservation agreements provide constant indexed payments regardless of the environmental and market conditions," NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust Chief Executive Officer Erin Giuliani said.

The Frontier Economics model showed consistent economic benefit to regional and rural communities where NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust conservation agreements are in place.

Against the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) income estimate for the 2023-24 financial year, the most recent release of the modelling is given greater importance.

The ABARES data predicts a significant downturn in farm income following a run of good seasons and forecast dry conditions, which could result, in some sectors, in decreased cash income.

"Beyond providing financial stability, NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust conservation agreements support wider economic activity in regional and rural communities, benefiting various sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, accommodation, and food services," Dr Giuliani said.

"Our investment in these areas supports about 30 fulltime equivalent jobs in the agriculture services sector, and up to 40 with additional funding through our grants program. Where possible, our agreements enable local contractors to be engaged."

For more information about opportunities to enter a funded conservation agreement in 2024, visit or phone 1300 992 688 to speak to a regional representative near you.

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