The draft policy statement provides guidance on the Commonwealth
Government's approach to the use and consideration of advanced
What is an advanced environmental offset?
An advanced environmental offset is the supply of an
environmental offset for the future use, transfer or sale by
proponents or offset providers. Unlike traditional environmental
offsets, advanced offsets are put in place prior to any
environmental impact occurring.
Advanced offsets can improve environmental outcomes by allowing
early implementation of conservation benefits which provides
greater confidence that those conservation benefits will be
achieved. In theory, this should enable a lower overall offset area
to be provided as the risk of offset delivery is removed.
Under the EPBC Environmental Offsets Policy, advanced offsets
are required to deliver a conservation benefit for the protected
matter that is impacted and that benefit must be new, or additional
to what is already required by a duty of care, or environment and
planning laws at any level of government.
What does the draft policy statement do?
The draft policy statement sets out when the Department will
consider advanced offsets and is designed to be read in conjunction
with the EPBC Act, the EPBC Environmental Offsets Policy, October
2012, and the "How to use the offsets assessment
The Department will consider advanced offsets that deliver a
conservation benefit that have been implemented after the
commencement of the EPBC Act on 16 July 2000, where:
it is demonstrated the site or action was established for the
purposes of advance offsetting;
there is sufficient baseline information to enable a clear
assessment of the conservation benefit;
the offset is demonstrated to be additional to existing
obligations under other planning regimes, legislation, schemes or
duty of care.
The draft policy statement also notes that proponents or offset
providers may wish to consider, and demonstrate to the Department,
how the proposed advanced offset could potentially align with other
Australian Government policies and strategies including
Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2010-2030,
Australia's Native Vegetation Framework, the Indigenous
Advancement Strategy and The Reef 2050 Plan, among others.
Proponents and offset providers looking to implement advanced
offsets are encouraged to discuss their plans with the Department
as early as possible. However, a proposed action or project to
which that offset relates will need to be referred and proceed to
the assessment stage under the EPBC Act, before the Department
makes a determination on the suitability of the offset.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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