Biodiversity offsets provide benefits to biodiversity to compensate for adverse impacts of an action. They assist in achieving long-term conservation outcomes while providing development proponents with the ability to undertake actions that have unavoidable impacts on biodiversity.
For example, if a proponent requires an area of native woodland to be cleared for a development to proceed, another area of similar woodland can be protected and managed for conservation in perpetuity. Over time, the gain in biodiversity achieved by improving the similar area of woodland will counterbalance the biodiversity lost due to the clearing.
The policy provides a standard method for assessing impacts of major projects on biodiversity and determining offsetting requirements. This reduces the need for case-by-case negotiations, including debates around the adequacy of assessments. It also provides increased certainty to proponents, allowing offsetting requirements to be known and factored in during the planning phase of a project.
By implementing clear and consistent guidance for assessing and offsetting the biodiversity impacts of major projects, the policy strikes an effective balance between the needs of proponents, communities and the environment.