- What development activities may need to provide an offset?
- How can an offset be provided?
- How are legally binding mechanisms used to secure biodiversity offsets?
- How is an offset managed?
- When is an offset finished and the legally binding mechanism removed?
- Are all offset proposals assessed by EHP?
- Approved offsets
- Lodging an application
- Pre-design/pre-lodgement meeting
- Where can I find further Information?
- Further information
The Queensland Government has developed the Queensland Biodiversity Offset Policy (see availability) to increase the long-term viability of the state’s biodiversity where residual impacts from development on an area possessing state significant biodiversity values cannot be avoided or minimised.
The policy is a specific-issues offset policy under the Queensland Government Environmental Offsets Policy (QGEOP) (see availability), which commenced on 1 July 2008
There are a number of other offset policies under the QGEOP which can be accessed via the environmental offsets section.
What development activities may need to provide an offset?
Under the Biodiversity Offset Policy, there will be certain development activities that might trigger the requirement for a biodiversity offset. These include:
- developments managed under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, including:
- development in the coastal zone under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995
- chapter 4 environmentally relevant activities with an aggregate environmental score assessed under the Environmental Protection Act 1994
- development under section 4 of the State Planning Policy 2/11 (SPP 2/11) Protecting Wetlands of High Ecological Significance in Great Barrier Reef Catchments, involving operational work that is high impact earth works in a wetland protection area
- designation of land by the Minister for community infrastructure for operating works under the Electricity Act 1994 (to which an exemption for the clearing of native vegetation in section 112A under the Electricity Act 1994 applies) on freehold land with remnant vegetation.
- mining and/or petroleum development authorised under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, including:
- level 1 mining activities under chapter 5
- level 1 petroleum activities under chapter 5A
- level 2 petroleum activities under chapter 5A, for the construction or extension of a pipeline that is less than 150 kilometres
- taking endangered, vulnerable or near threatened plant species under the Nature Conservation Act 1992
- the construction of State controlled roads under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994.
For further information on whether your development requires an offset, refer to the Biodiversity Offset Policy, Guide to Environmental Offsets in Queensland or contact your local EHP business centre.
Read more about the Biodiversity Offsets Policy (see availability).
How can an offset be provided?
There are two main options for providing a biodiversity offset—either a land-based offset or through an offset payment.
Land-based offsets can be provided as either a direct offset at the time of the approval of the development application, or as an offset transfer within 12 months of the development approval.
They must be legally secured using a legally binding mechanism, and must be supported by an offset area management plan.
Offset payments are payments made by the applicant to the Balance the Earth Trust.
The payment is used by the Balance the Earth Trust to purchase land to add to Queensland’s protected area estate, e.g. to build national parks, or to purchase land that forms part of a strategic biodiversity corridor building the overall integrity of Queensland’s natural landscapes.
How are legally binding mechanisms used to secure biodiversity offsets?
A legally binding mechanism is a statutory instrument that is used to achieve a particular purpose under the law. They are executed through the signing of a legally binding agreement or contract between the parties involved in the transaction or project at hand.
At present there are three legally binding mechanisms available to secure offsets under the BOP. These are:
- protected area estates (e.g. a nature refuge) under the Nature Conservation Act 1992
- declarations under the Vegetation Management Act 1999
- covenants under the Land Act 1994 or Land Title Act 1994.
How is an offset managed?
An offset area is managed by an offset area management plan. This management plan must be in place at the time that the offset area is legally secured. The purpose of the management plan is to ensure the offset area is managed in a way that will maximise the chance of the offset meeting the purpose of the offset policy to which it relates.
Copies of the offset area management plan guideline and template will be available soon.
When is an offset finished and the legally binding mechanism removed?
An offset and legally binding mechanism remains in effect until the landowner provides evidence that demonstrates that the offset area requirements, the legally binding mechanism and the management objectives and actions identified in the offset area management plan have been met in full.
Are all offset proposals assessed by EHP?
Under the Biodiversity Offsets Policy, self-assessment can be completed by an electricity entity or the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) for these development activities where they impact on state significant biodiversity values:
- operational work associated with Government Supported Transport Infrastructure projects or certain operating works under the Electricity Act 1994
- State controlled road development completed by, or on behalf of DTMR.
- The electricity entity or DTMR is required to advise EHP of all approved and legally secured offsets. These offsets will be placed on the Approved Offset Register.
For a full list of approved, legally secured offsets, including biodiversity related offsets, please refer to the department’s legally secured offsets register.
Lodging an application
All development applications, including those relating to community infrastructure projects, must be lodged via the department’s Permit and Licence Management Unit.
It is recommended that all applicants who believe that they may need to provide an offset arrange a pre-designed/pre-lodgement meeting prior to submitting an application.
Where can I find further Information?
For further information on biodiversity offsets, please refer to the offsets resources page, which contains a series of factsheets, guidelines and templates to assist applicants and landholders in meeting their particular offset requirements.
For a list of the mapping data available to assist in an offset assessment, please refer to the offsets mapping page.
For enquiries relating to biodiversity offsets:
Available from the library catalogue
The documents referred to on this page are available from the department’s online library catalogue.
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