John Seidel

John Seidel

Abstract | Using innovative method to assess development impacts and biodiversity offset requirements in NSW

NSW has been a leader in developing and implementing a regulated market-based program for biodiversity offsets since 2009. This approach has been underpinned by the Biobanking program, biodiversity certification and the Offsets Policy for Major Projects. In 2017, a new Biodiversity Conservation Act commenced which provides for an expanded Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

To date, Biobanking agreements have been the preferred conservation measure for securing offsets. Since the first agreement was approved in 2010, there has been an increasing uptake and interest from landholders in the scheme. This presentation will set out some of the key outcome, including the types of threatened species, ecological communities and other plant community type that are secured and managed in-perpetuity under biobanking agreements.

The presentation will cover some of the changes made in the new Biodiversity Assessment Method. It will also discuss some of the challenges of the method-based approach for impact assessment of linear infrastructure developments, compared to site-based projects in the context of the avoid – minimise – offset hierarchy. This includes providing impact assessment criteria specifically for type of impacts that linear developments can have on threatened species and threatened species habitat, as well as some of the difficulties in assessing indirect impacts and valuing mitigation measures in the context of providing offsets via a biodiversity credit market.