Applying for clause 34A certification

The application process, eligibility and documentation required

Eligibility criteria

To obtain certification under clause 34A an applicant must clearly show that the proposed development:

  • is the subject of a development application, or that will be the subject of pending or future development applications
  • is part of a concept plan approval or relevant planning arrangement

and that

  • the biodiversity impacts of the proposed development have already been satisfactorily assessed before the commencement of the BC Act as part of the concept plan approval or relevant planning arrangement
  • have conservation measures that have been secured into the future by a planning agreement, a land reservation or otherwise
  • the conservation measures offset the residual impact of the proposed development after the measures required to be taken to avoid or minimise those impacts.

Other considerations

Consideration will be given to whether biodiversity impacts were satisfactorily assessed, including: 

  • Was the scope and methodology of the assessment appropriate to assess the impacts of the relevant planning arrangement?
  • How well does the planning arrangement and associated conservation measure offset the residual impacts identified by the biodiversity assessment? 
  • Was ‘in principle’ support for the arrangement and offsets provided by the former Office of Environment and Heritage and/or consent authority.

Conservation measures are those elements of the planning arrangement or concept plan approval that offset the residual impacts to biodiversity, after the measures taken to avoid and minimise impact.

Conservation measures that are considered to be secured into the future may include:

  • a legally binding mechanism to protect biodiversity from clearing or development ‘in-perpetuity’ 
  • a biodiversity management plan and funding to support implementation of the management plan

Offsets can be secured into the future by a variety of legal mechanisms, for example, voluntary planning agreements, land dedications to state or local government or 'otherwise', for example, an in-perpetuity conservation mechanism such as a BioBanking Agreement (BBA), a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) or another type of conservation agreement. 

To be considered under clause 34A, an offset must be legally secured and protected from changes in land use or any potential for development impact.

Clause 34A certification application process

Clause 34A (3)

To apply for a clause 34A (3) certification for proposed development that is part of a concept plan approval, contact Planning and Assessment for information about how to apply and what information you need to provide.

Clause 34A(4)

To request certification under clause 34A (4) for a proposed development that is part of a relevant planning arrangement, apply in writing with the required information.

Information and documentation required

The information requirements for an application for certification in accordance with clause 34A include:

  • Name and details of the proponent or consultant acting on behalf on the applicant.
  • Lot and DP details of land subject to the development and relevant planning arrangement (including maps).
  • For consultants acting on behalf of a client – a signed letter from the proponent granting permission to seek certification on their behalf 
Clause 34A criteria  Clause 34A information  Documentation (when relevant)
Proposed development Provide a description of the proposed development and specify if the application requests certification of a single DA or all future and pending development applications.  Maps of the proposed development, subdivision plans, development consents and any previous approvals, proposals or, in the case of a staged development, details of completed and pending 
Biodiversity impact assessment  Demonstrate that the biodiversity impact assessment was completed satisfactorily before commencement of the BC Act as part of the relevant planning arrangement or the concept plan approval.  Evidence that planning authorities agreed or acknowledge that the biodiversity assessment was adequate at the time the matter was considered 
Relevant planning arrangement (for clause 34A (4) only

Describe the relevant planning arrangement

If relevant, if the planning arrangement is secured by a planning agreement.

Details, documentation, and/or legal instruments showing the relevant planning arrangement 

Concept plan approval (for clause 34A (3) only)

Details of the proposed development, the aspects of the development for which certification is sought and a statement formally requesting certification. The development should be described in sufficient detail, both physically referable to a map or plan.

Background information regarding the context and history of the development that establishes eligibility for certification

A reference to the relevant legal instruments  
Conservation measures secured into the future

Describe how the biodiversity offsets have been secured into the future.

Describe the status of the offsets (enacted or agreed).

Include details regarding the proposed management of the offsets 

Legal documentation demonstrating the mechanism that secures offsets. 

Documentation showing the status of the offset mechanisms

If relevant, any management funding for the offsets.

Copies of VPAs or evidence of other legally binding mechanisms.

Department involvement

If relevant, details of department involvement in one or more of:

  • the biodiversity impact assessment
  • the relevant planning arrangement
  • design or arrangements for secured offsets.
Documentation showing previous department involvement and/or government support for the relevant planning arrangements and offsets.


34A (4) – proposed development that is part of a relevant planning arrangement

Apply in writing to the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment using the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme support mailbox.

The department will first review the application and advise if there are any issues that could prevent or delay the assessment and decision about the application.

34A (3) – proposed development that is part of a previous concept plan

Apply in writing to the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment at Planning information.