The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 together with the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 commenced on 25 August 2017. They replaced the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) and associated regulation.
The TSC Act had previously provided the framework for creation of biodiversity credits and biodiversity credit obligations (also called offset obligations). These are also known as BioBanking credits after the name of the program.
The change in legislation also included a change in the method that was used to create biodiversity credits and to calculate offset obligations.
To ensure that credits and credit obligations created under the TSC Act could still be used or met within the newer credit market, the Biodiversity Conservation (Savings and Transitional) Regulation 2017 (Savings and Transitions Regulation) preserved these credits and credit obligations.
The Savings and Transitions Regulation also provided the power for the Environment Agency Head (EAH) to determine reasonable equivalence of these credits or credit obligations, that is, to determine reasonable equivalence for BioBanking credits or obligations to the new Biodiversity Offsets Scheme credit numbers and classes.
When to apply for an assessment of reasonable equivalence
You should apply for an assessment of reasonable equivalence if:
- You own BioBanking credits either because you entered into a BioBanking agreement or you had these transferred to your ownership and you wish to sell these to someone with a credit obligation created under the BC Act.
- You have a BioBanking credit obligation (calculated under the provisions of the TSC Act) and you wish to retire credits created under the BC Act to meet that obligation.
- You have a BioBanking credit obligation (calculated under the provisions of the TSC Act) and you wish to discharge that obligation by payment into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund.
You can still transfer and retire BioBanking credits that match BioBanking credit obligations. You don't need an assessment of reasonable credit equivalence to do this. Visit Biodiversity credits page for more information.
Finding credits that match your Biodiversity Offsets Scheme equivalent credits or obligation
If you want to search for Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (BOS) equivalent credits that match your BOS equivalent credit obligation you will need to:
- Check the BioBanking public registers to find out if any credits of that plant community type are still identified as issued on the BioBanking credits register.
- Contact the owner of the BioBanking credits. They should show you a copy of their credit ownership report which will contain information of the equivalent BOS credits they currently hold.
This is a transitional arrangement and we don't anticipate it will be required for an extended period.
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 BioBanking 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 BioBanking biodiversity credits to be retired under an existing TSC Act statutory obligation.