Planning authorities for the purposes of biodiversity certification are those listed under section 8.1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. They include, but are not limited to, local councils and the Minister for Planning.
Loans and other financial assistance may be available from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust for planning authorities undertaking biodiversity certification.
Strategic biodiversity certification facilitates strategic land use planning outcomes at a landscape scale. An application for strategic biodiversity certification will usually include a range of conservation objectives and land uses.
Proposals suitable for strategic biodiversity certification will generally involve, or form part of, a strategic land use planning exercise. Proposals that have limited capacity to avoid biodiversity impacts due to function and design are unlikely to be suitable for strategic biodiversity certification.
Project-based types of development that require development assessment and approval, such as state significant development or state significant infrastructure, are generally not suitable for strategic biodiversity certification.
The Minister for the Environment determines whether to declare a proposal ‘strategic’
When deciding if to declare a biodiversity certification application strategic, the Minister will take into account criteria set out in the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017.
The criteria are as follows:
A formal request must be made to the Minister to have an application for biodiversity certification declared strategic. Information included in the request should be guided by Request to declare biodiversity certification application as strategic – addressing the criteria (DOC 31KB).
The Minister will consider a request for strategic declaration on its merits based on the evidence provided. If you are considering requesting a strategic declaration, it is recommended that you contact the department to discuss your proposal prior to submitting your request.
The Department of Planning and Environment maintains a list of biodiversity certification proposals declared strategic.
Additional conservation measures available
In addition to the retirement of biodiversity credits, an applicant for strategic biodiversity certification can access additional conservation measures including:
- reservation of land under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act)
- adoption of development controls or state infrastructure contributions under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) that conserve or enhance the natural environment
- any other measure determined to be an approved conservation measure by the Minister for the Environment.
The offset rules do not apply to strategic biodiversity certification.
Guidance on designing conservation measures for strategic biodiversity certification is available in the Conservation measures in strategic applications for biodiversity certification: Guidance for planning authorities.