On 1 July 2014, a new environmental offsets framework was introduced in Queensland. Under this legislation, if you require an Environmental Authority for a proposed project, you will also be asked to provide information on any significant environmental impacts the project may cause over the whole of its life. If impacts are identified to any 'Prescribed Matters' you may have to provide an offset.
Prescribed Matters include:
- Matters of State Environmental Significance as listed in Schedule 2 of the Environmental Offset Regulation 2014.
- Commonwealth MNES (Matters of National Environmental Significance) when the legislation receives accreditation under the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999.
- Matters of Local Environmental Significance as described under Section 5(3) of the Environmental Offset Regulation 2014.
The new framework streamlines environmental offsets by providing an outcome-based approach to offsets, removing the complexities and duplication associated with the former offsets framework and aligning offsets across all three levels of government.
The new framework includes:
- Environmental Offsets Act 2014 which coordinates the delivery of environmental offsets across jurisdictions and provides a single point-of-truth for offsets in Queensland.
- Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014 which provides details of the prescribed activities regulated under existing legislation and prescribed environmental matters to which the Act applies.
- New Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy Version 1.0 which provides a single, consistent, whole-of-government policy for the assessment of offset proposals provided by authority holders to satisfy offset conditions.
Habitat equivalency analysis surveys
Offset delivery options
The new policy provides greater flexibility in relation to how offsets can be delivered including:
- Financial settlement—calculate your financial settlement using the Financial Settlement Offset Calculator.
- Land-based offsets.
- Offsets delivered as actions in a Direct Benefit Management Plan.
Or a combination of these approaches.
- Where offset conditions specify, staged offsets can also be delivered.
Offset delivery forms
A series of Offset Delivery Forms help you work through and enter an agreement with the administering agency on how to deliver your offsets. The forms also include a process for identifying and registering an area of land as an advanced offset, recognising the positive environmental benefits achieved through proactive management of an area over time.
The new legislative framework replaces:
- Queensland Government Environmental Offset Policy (QGEOP)
- Policy for Vegetation Management Offsets (PVMO)
- Queensland Biodiversity Offset Policy (QBOP)
- Marine Fish Habitat Offsets Policy (MFHOP)
- Offsets for Net Gain of Koala Habitat in Southeast Queensland Policy.