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Biodiversity Offsets Scheme overview and achievements


Biodiversity Offsets Scheme overview

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme provides a mechanism to avoid, minimise and offset the impacts of development and some types of clearing on biodiversity in New South Wales. 

Under the scheme: 

  • Developers, individuals and other groups responsible for projects that will significantly affect biodiversity must first seek to avoid and minimise that impact. A credit obligation will be imposed for any remaining impacts.  
  • To meet this credit obligation, developers can purchase and retire credits offered by landholders on the credit market. Learn about credit obligations.
  • Landholders generate credits by agreeing to secure and manage an area of their land to improve biodiversity. 
  • Agreements with landholders are called Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements. These agreements are in-perpetuity agreements. 
  • Credit sales provide funding for ongoing management activities on the land, such as weed and pest management, fire management, and restoration works. 
  • Transparent and scientifically robust methods are used to assess biodiversity impacts at development sites and determine biodiversity management at stewardship sites. 

Significant achievements 

To date, the scheme has: 

  • protected 64,889 hectares through land management under Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements (at 30 September 2023) 
  • invested $288 million in the Biodiversity Stewardship Payment Fund (at 30 September 2023), providing annual payments to landholders for managing Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement sites 
  • paid nearly $15 million from the Biodiversity Stewardship Payment Fund to landholders to generate biodiversity gains through weed and pest management, fire management and land restoration works in the 12 months to 30 September 2023 (with around 70% going to regional communities, diversifying incomes and providing environmental services) 
  • established a $106 million Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund to supply biodiversity credits. 

Statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 

The scheme was established under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW).

An independent panel undertook a review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act. The purpose of the review was to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms remain appropriate for securing those objectives. The final report from the review was released in August 2023. 

Read more about the Statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

See also A review of biodiversity legislation in NSW: Final report (2014), that informed the development of the current Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Act 2013.