Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

BioBanking review: Findings and recommendations

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has reviewed the Biodiversity Banking and Offsets Scheme (BioBanking) and a summary of the main findings and recommendations are presented below.

Findings

The review found that BioBanking has been effective in delivering benefits for the environment through the creation of biobank sites that will be managed for conservation purposes in perpetuity. The review also identified opportunities to fine-tune the scheme to ensure that it delivers further environmental outcomes and is practical to use.

Participation rates in the scheme have steadily increased and at the end of July 2014, 10 biobanking statements had been issued and 29 biobanking agreements approved. The review identified recommendations to the scheme framework to ensure its smooth operation, and continued growth in proponent and landowner participation.

Over the six years that BioBanking has operated, almost 5000 hectares of native vegetation has been set aside under biobanking agreements to be managed in perpetuity for conservation purposes. These areas support 15 different endangered and critically endangered ecological communities and provide habitat for a range of threatened species, including the spotted-tailed quoll and woodland birds such as the swift parrot.

Recommendations

The BioBanking Scheme: Statutory Review Report, PDF 415KB includes recommendations to improve the scheme framework and the existing BioBanking Assessment Methodology.

The review has made recommendations that build on many of the elements that were identified by stakeholders as strengths of the scheme, including:

  • the provision of a standardised, consistent and scientific approach to measuring biodiversity impacts at development sites, and biodiversity gains at offset sites
  • protection of offset sites in perpetuity
  • creation of an alternative income stream for landowners wishing to receive payments for managing their land for conservation.

The review also addressed the limitations of BioBanking that were found to act as either disincentives or barriers to participation for landowners and developers. These included:

  • concerns about the uncertainty of offset supply
  • landowner concerns about the high costs of establishing biobank sites, combined with uncertainty that biodiversity credits, once created, would be sold
  • length of time taken to review and process biobanking statements and agreements
  • uncertainty around red flag decisions
  • expectations about higher transaction costs compared to alternative assessment and offsetting pathways.  
Page last updated: 27 April 2016