A comparison of Australian biodiversity offset policies and their application

Poster presented to the EIANZ Annual Conference, Canberra 20-21 October 2009

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Authors: Martin Juniper, Dr Tatia Zubrinich, Dr Martin Predavec, Parsons Brinckerhoff. Contact 457 St Kilda Road, Melbourne; Telephone: (03) 9861 1119; email: mjuniper@pb.com.au

Offsets for the removal and disturbance of native vegetation are applied through both formal and informal regulatory mechanisms throughout Australia. We compare of the offset policies across three eastern states (Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland) and at the national level, providing an insight into their practical application.Examples of offset frameworks/policies within the three states and at the Commonwealth level include:
  • Victoria - the Native Vegetation Management – A Framework for Action.
  • New South Wales - the Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme (BioBanking) established under the Threatened Species Conservation Amendment (Biodiversity Banking) Act 2006.
  • Queensland - the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (VMA) and the Policy for Vegetation Management Offsets.
  • Commonwealth – the Draft Policy Statement: Use of environmental offsets under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (2007).
While there are similarities in the various offsets programs, there are significant differences particularly in relation to consistency and ease of application; security; and biodiversity outcomes. We contend that a clearly defined process that is applied consistently, but allowing
flexibility, is likely to result in the effective application of offset programs and achieve the protection and enhancement of biodiversity values, while facilitating and providing certainty for sustainable developments.

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