Biodiversity Offsets Payment Calculator – May 2021 consultation

Feedback from this consultation has changed the way we are progressing reform of the calculator.

Under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, there are 3 main options to satisfy offset obligations for impacts on biodiversity values from proposed developments or other projects:

  • establish a new offset site through a Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA)
  • purchase biodiversity credits on the open market (generally from landholders who have established a BSA)
  • pay into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund (BCF), which transfers the obligation to the Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT).

The Biodiversity Offsets Payment Calculator (BOPC) is used to determine the amount to pay into the BCF to transfer an offset obligation. There is no obligation for a developer to choose this option but it can be faster and simpler.

The Department of Planning and Environment (the Department) does not recommend the use of the BOPC for pricing credits. Instead, credits sales reported on the public register can be used. Some market participants also look to price credits based on the cost of land, the cost to manage land under the BSA (total fund deposit), set up costs (including for surveys, legal advice) and a reasonable profit. This is a sound approach in the absence of pricing data from comparative sales.

The Department completed consultation in May 2021 on proposed changes to the BOPC. The proposed changes were based on independent recommendations made by EY Port Jackson Partners (PJP), including:

  • a charge system based on 3 sources for estimating the cost of acquitting obligations – an econometric model, a cost structure model and market soundings
  • the BCT being the agency responsible for determining appropriate developer charges
  • the BCT providing quotes within 30 days, rather than a publicly accessible calculator.

The BCT is separately developing the new charge system.

Submissions report now available

The consultation in May 2021 resulted in over 1400 submissions. Key themes in the submissions included the need for further consultation on the replacement BCF charge system and assurance arrangements, the need for transparency in proposed changes and expected outcomes and seeking clarification about the proposed roles and resourcing.

For a more detailed summary of consultation feedback see the Submissions Report: Stage 1 consultation on Biodiversity Offsets Scheme proposals 2021.

Response to feedback

As a result of feedback from the consultation, the Department is developing support information for market participants and the assurance process, and improving credit supply.

BCT is taking on the feedback also as part of the development of the BCF charge system and has progressed further consultation.

For more information on broader improvements currently underway for the scheme, see our Improvements to the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme web page.

Please contact us at biodiversity@environment.nsw.gov.au if you have any questions.