Local government resources for biodiversity conservation and management

Local government is a key partner in the conservation and management of biodiversity and threatened species in New South Wales.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) commenced on 25 August 2017. This page provides a resource for local government to support implementation of the new biodiversity assessment and approval framework.

Commencement of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme

From 25th February 2018 in most local government areas, any new application for development consent or modification to an approved development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A) (not including State Significant Development) will be subject to the biodiversity assessment requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Transitional arrangements will continue to apply to activities under Part 5 of the EP&A Act, major projects and mining projects as outlined in the BC (S&T) Regulation.

Interim Designated Areas

The following local government areas are no longer Interim Designated Areas:

  • Cessnock
  • Newcastle
  • Port Stephens
  • Lake Macquarie, Maitland
  • Central Coast and Coffs Harbour.

In addition, the West Dapto Urban Release Area in the Wollongong local government area is no longer an Interim Designated Area.

The biodiversity impacts of new development applications (or modifications) submitted in these areas will now be assessed in accordance with the BC Act.

The following local government areas continue to be considered Interim Designated Areas:

  • Camden
  • City of Campbelltown
  • City of Fairfield
  • City of Hawkesbury
  • City of Liverpool
  • City of Penrith
  • Wollondilly.

Former planning provisions continue to apply within Interim Designated Areas. Applications for development consent, or modification to an approved development, under Part 4 of the EP&A Act (not including State Significant Development) will continue to be assessed under former planning provisions until the 24 November 2019. This has been extended for one year from 25 November 2018.

‘Opt in' by agreement provisions, set out in clause 28(2) of the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation (Savings and Transitional) 2017, only apply to Part 4 development in limited circumstances. Refer to transitioning from the former legislative framework or local government questions and answers for more information.

Transitional arrangements

Find out more information about arrangements for transitioning from the former legislative framework.

Development assessment

The BC Act, together with the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017, outlines the framework for assessment and approval of biodiversity impacts associated with developments that require consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The Act introduces a Biodiversity Offsets Scheme. A development to which the Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies will be required to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report to accompany a development application.

More information on the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is available.

Biodiversity certification is another key tool under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 that is important for local government, and is integrated in the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

More information about biodiversity certification.