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Applying the Biodiversity Assessment Method


When a development or activity enters the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, or a landholder wants to establish a biodiversity stewardship agreement, the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) must be applied, and a Biodiversity Assessment Report prepared.

The Biodiversity Assessment Method must be applied by an accredited assessor who reports the assessment results in a Biodiversity Assessment Report. Find an accredited assessor. 

To apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method, an accredited assessor would, for example: 

  • identify the type and extent of vegetation types on the site 
  • determine whether the vegetation is threatened under legislation 
  • identify the quality of the vegetation 
  • identify threatened species and their habitat on the site 
  • calculate any biodiversity losses at a development or clearing site, or biodiversity gains at a stewardship site, which are quantified in biodiversity credits. 

Application of the Biodiversity Assessment Method involves site visits to undertake various surveys of vegetation and threatened species and their habitat. Information from site visits, surveys and supporting information and data is used to generate the Biodiversity Assessment Report. 

Different reports are created depending on the type of assessment undertaken. Learn about the Types of Biodiversity Assessment Reports

To learn more about the types of development and landing clearing activities the scheme applies, go to When the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies

The role of consent and approval authorities

Local government or another approval authority assesses the Biodiversity Development Assessment Report or Biodiversity Certification Assessment Report provided with development or approval applications where the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies.   

Local government has a duty to consider the information in the Biodiversity Development Assessment Report when deciding: 

  • whether to approve the associated development proposal  
  • whether appropriate steps have been taken to avoid and minimise the proposed impacts 
  • conditions for offset obligations.  

Local government may also be the determining authority for Part 5 infrastructure proposals. If a Part 5 activity is likely to have a significant impact on threatened species, the determining authority may either: 

  • prepare a species impact statement  
  • opt in to the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme and determine whether to approve the activity, consider the Biodiversity Development Assessment Report assessment of the impacts of the activity, and set any offset obligations. 

Other decision makers who may need to consider applications and reports for developments, activities or clearing where the scheme applies can include the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces for state significant proposals, determining authorities for Part 5 infrastructure proposals, the Native Vegetation Panel for vegetation clearing under the Local Land Services Act 2013 or the State Environmental Planning Policy (Biodiversity and Conservation) 2021, and the Minister for the Environment for biodiversity certification. Learn more about Biodiversity certification. 

Biodiversity Assessment Reports prepared for development and biodiversity certification applications will be placed on public exhibition with the relevant application. 

For more information on the role and responsibilities of local government and decisions makers in assessing biodiversity impacts, reports and site monitoring, see For local government and decision makers

Applying the Biodiversity Assessment Method at stewardship sites

If you want to establish a biodiversity stewardship agreement, you may first want to consider a feasibility assessment and/or business case. This could help inform your decision to progress to a biodiversity stewardship agreement. If you proceed, you will need to engage an accredited assessor to prepare a Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Report, which will identify the biodiversity on the site and set out:

  • a proposed management plan for the site 
  • the class, type and number of biodiversity credits generated by the management.  

Applications for biodiversity stewardship agreements, including complete Biodiversity Stewardship Site Assessment Reports, must be submitted to the Nature Markets and Offsets division in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

To learn more about setting up a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement, go to Apply for a biodiversity stewardship agreement