Nature conservation

Biodiversity Reform

Applying for an assessment of reasonable equivalence

How to apply for an assessment of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits associated with an existing offset obligation.

You may need to apply for an assessment of reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits if you were issued with a biodiversity credit obligation that was calculated under the provisions of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act).

The Commonwealth Government will not currently accept payments into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund for developments that are a controlled action under the provisions of the Environment Protection of Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth). This does not prevent you from making an application for an assessment of reasonable equivalence.

Transfer and retire BioBanking credits that match BioBanking credit obligations

You can still transfer and retire BioBanking credits that match BioBanking credit obligations. See the Biodiversity credits page for more details.

Apply for an assessment of reasonable equivalence for biodiversity credits

Once you have your development consent and know your final statutory credit obligation you should contact the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) for an Application for an Assessment of Reasonable Equivalence of Biodiversity Credits form (DOC KB).

When completing the form, you may use information contained in the Credit Calculator report used to inform the final biodiversity credit obligation. You may use an accredited assessor to compile the information for you.

The form should be completed making sure that any required attachments are included. The completed form should be submitted to OEH via the Land Management and Biodiversity Conservation (LMBC) support mailbox: lmbc.support@environment.nsw.gov.au.

The Chief Executive or a delegate of the Chief Executive of OEH will consider the reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits on a case by case basis using the information supplied in the application form.

Statement of Reasonable Credit Equivalence

Once your application is processed, OEH will issue you with a Statement of Reasonable Credit Equivalence. The written Statement sets out the number and class of biodiversity credits that are reasonably equivalent under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

If you plan to make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund in order to discharge your biodiversity credit obligation you will need to calculate the amount you should pay using the information on your Statement of Reasonable Credit Equivalence and the Biodiversity Offset Payment Calculator to calculate the amount.

If you then wish to make a payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund you should contact the Biodiversity Conservation Trust at info@bct.nsw.gov.au

The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) will process your application and following payment the BCT will issue you with a certificate under S 6.33 of the BC Act which you may provide to the consent authority as evidence that your biodiversity credit obligation has been discharged.

Statutory background for assessments of reasonable biodiversity credit equivalence

The Biodiversity Conservation (Savings and Transitional) Regulation 2017 (the S&T regulation) (Clause 19(1)) makes provision for the Environment Agency Head (EAH) to determine how biodiversity credits created under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) are reasonably equivalent to those under the BC Act (Part 6). That means that any biodiversity credits that were issued, but not retired or cancelled before the repeal of the TSC Act, are preserved.

The S&T regulation (Clause 22(3)) also allows for the EAH to determine the reasonable equivalence of biodiversity credits to be retired under an existing TSC Act statutory obligation.

Assessment of an application for reasonable equivalence process

Where a request for reasonable equivalence is made for the purpose of determining the reasonably equivalent BC Act credit obligation from an existing TSC Act credit obligation, the OEH will first consider whether there are matching biodiversity credits that are issued or pending on the BioBanking public register – Credits register. This means that biodiversity credits set out in the existing obligation can be retired using credits that have been created under the BioBanking Assessment Methodology i.e. the reasonable equivalence ratio will be 1:1. If there are no matching biodiversity credits available, the OEH will apply one of the methods below.

In all cases where a revised credit obligation is calculated as 0, it will be rounded up to 1.

Ecosystem credits

OEH will determine the number and type of ecosystem credits that are reasonably equivalent by applying the Biodiversity Assessment Methodology (BAM) biodiversity risk weighting as per BAM equation 1 to the approved area and existing condition of the vegetation from the Biodiversity Assessment Report (BAR).

Species credits (fauna)

OEH will determine the number and type of species credits (fauna) that are reasonably equivalent by applying the BAM biodiversity risk weighting as per BAM equation 2 to the approved area and existing condition of fauna habitat from the BAR.

Species credits (flora assessed by area)

OEH will determine the number and type of species credits (flora) that are reasonably equivalent by applying the BAM biodiversity risk weighting as per BAM equation 2 to the approved area and existing condition of flora habitat from the BAR and/or application form.

Species credits (flora assessed by count)

OEH will determine the number and type of species credits (flora) that are reasonably equivalent by applying the BAM biodiversity risk weighting as per BAM equation 3 to the approved number of individuals of the species from the BAR.

Page last updated: 16 August 2018