Information for landowners

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 commenced on 25 August 2017 visit Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

The information on this page only remains relevant for savings and transitional arrangements under former legislation and policy. Visit Biodiversity Offset Scheme Transitional Arrangements for more information.

Landowners in NSW who are interested in protecting and conserving biodiversity values on their land can establish a BioBank site and create biodiversity credits. After selling these credits, landowners receive annual payments to cover the cost of managing their BioBank site in perpetuity. Biobanking for landowners (PDF, 410 KB) is an introductory brochure about how BioBanking works for landowners.

Guide for landowners

The Guide to establishing a BioBank site (PDF, 1.27MB) provides comprehensive information about establishing a BioBank site. Landowners who are thinking about establishing a BioBank site are encouraged to read the guide so they can make an informed decision. The guide helps landowners identify:

  • whether their land is eligible for the establishment of a BioBank site
  • how to establish a BioBank site
  • the benefits and obligations of establishing a BioBank site
  • how to sell biodiversity credits and the role the BioBanking Trust Fund plays
  • what happens after a BioBank site is established.

Landowner experiences

Have a look at these case studies to find out about the motivations and experiences of some private and public landowners who have established a BioBank site on their property:

BioBanking helps protect unique bushland in Hornsby

There's now plenty in reserve to look after Puckeys Estate

Ku-ring-gai Council banks on biodiversity

BioBanking saves Downes family farm at Brownlow Hill

Preserving critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland

Western Sydney Parklands places its trust in BioBanking

BioBanking creates a safe haven on the NSW south coast

If you are a public land owner or manager, you can find out more about the experience of other public land owners who have established biobank sites through the Establishing Biobank sites on public land report (PDF 3.5MB). The report provides details of seven councils who established biobank sites through the Linking Landscapes through Local Action Grant Program 2012-2015.

Expression of interest

An expression of interest (EOI) is the first step in the process of establishing a BioBank site and creating biodiversity credits. By lodging an EOI landowners can advertise potential credits and their interest in establishing a BioBank site to credit buyers. Lodging an EOI is free of charge and does not carry any obligations. EOI details are made available through the Expression of Interest Register.

To lodge an EOI landowners must complete a “BioBank site expression of interest form” which can be downloaded from Forms.

Credits wanted

Landowners who are thinking about establishing a BioBank site may wish to search the Credits Wanted Register to see if any credit buyers are seeking the credits their site will generate.

Establishing a BioBank site

When a landowner decides to apply to establish a BioBank site, they need to have their land assessed by an accredited BioBanking Assessor.

After the assessment is complete, management actions are developed to maintain or improve the biodiversity values on the land. The management actions template (DOC, 570KB) provides standard wording for these management actions. The biodiversity credits pricing spreadsheet (XLS, 307KB) must be used to supply estimated costs for all the management actions. This spreadsheet is used to calculate the in perpetuity management costs for the site.

Once the assessment and management actions are submitted, OEH will develop the BioBanking Agreement in consultation with the landholder and assessor. This is the agreement between the Minister for the Environment and the landowner to establish the BioBank site. An example BioBanking agreement template (PDF, 508 KB) is provided for information .

The BioBanking agreement application form can be downloaded from Forms.

Taxation implications

There are a range of tax implications for landowners entering into a BioBanking agreement.

Land tax is not payable on a BioBank site (Land Tax Management Act 1956, section 10 (1)(p)).

Tax implications of a BioBanking agreement (PDF, 145KB) outlines how income tax (including capital gains tax) and the goods and services tax (GST) may affect landowners. It also outlines the tax concessions available to landowners, due to BioBanking having conservation covenant status with the Australian Government, as established through two rulings from the Australian Taxation Office: a private binding ruling on GST and a class ruling on income tax including capital gains tax.

Additionality

Additionality may apply to public or private landowners who want to create a BioBank site on land that already has other conservation management obligations. Where a biobanking agreement is established on land that is subject to existing conservation obligations, a discounted or reduced number of credits may be created for that site according to those conservation measures or actions. The discount for each conservation measure or action is set out in clause 12.10 of the BioBanking Assessment Methodology.

Mining interests

Where land that is proposed to be BioBanked is the subject of a mining lease or mineral claim under the Mining Act 1992 or a production lease under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991, the holder of the lease or claim must provide their written consent before approval of the BioBanking agreement. Where the land is the subject of any other mining authority or petroleum title, OEH is required to consult with the holder of the mining authority or petroleum title about the terms of the agreement.

When a landholder is considering establishing a BioBank site it is important that they check for mining leases, mineral claims or production leases as early in the process as possible, particularly where consent is required.

How can I find out if there is an exploration lease, mining authority or petroleum title?

Exploration leases, mining authorities or petroleum titles can be identified by undertaking two searches with NSW Resources and Energy:

What happens if there is an exploration lease, mining authority or petroleum title?

If the proposed BioBank site is the subject of a mining lease or mineral claim under the Mining Act 1992 or a production lease under the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 the landholder, or their assessor, should contact the holder of the authority or title to seek in principle support for the BioBanking agreement before committing to a BioBanking assessment and application. Where the land is the subject of any other mining authority or petroleum title it is also recommended that the landholder, or their assessor, consults with the holder of the authority or title, although approval is not required from these interest holders.

Landholders should also be aware that a BioBanking application may be refused if current or proposed uses of the land are not appropriate. Mining or other operations may negatively affect a BioBanking site. OEH should be contacted to discuss this issue before submitting a BioBanking agreement application.

Page last updated: 28 August 2017