Strategic biodiversity certification

Strategic biodiversity certification is available only to planning authorities.

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.

The Minister for the Environment determines whether to declare a proposal as ‘strategic’

In deciding whether 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:

  1. the size of the area of the land,
  2. any regional or district strategic plan under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that applies to the area in which the land is situated,
  3. advice provided by the Minister for Planning regarding the proposed biodiversity certification,
  4. the economic, social or environmental outcomes that the proposed biodiversity certification could facilitate.

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 Department 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 Energy and 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.