The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation. It regulates impacts on matters of national environmental significance, such as nationally threatened species and world heritage areas as well as actions that involve the Commonwealth.
Developed following broad consultation, the ‘EPBC Act environmental offsets policy’ was released in October 2012. The policy sets out the principles for effective offsetting for those protected matters regulated under national environmental law. The policy was developed with a number of explicit aims, including improving the environmental outcomes that EPBC Act offsets deliver and providing greater certainty and transparency around regulatory decision making. One of the key priorities arising from the policy development process was the development of a transparent offsets guide (or calculator) that would give effect to the policy principles when assessing biodiversity offsets.
The final EPBC Act Offsets assessment guide emerged through a collaborative effort between Environment staff and researchers in the NERP ED Hub. The offsets assessment guide provides a tool for evaluating whether offsets for impacts on nationally threatened species and ecological communities are adequate. It is the first tool in operation in any jurisdiction worldwide that explicitly and transparently accounts for additionality, uncertainty, and time lags in calculating an offset requirement.
Miller KL, JA Trezise, S Kraus, K Dripps, MC Evans, P Gibbons, HP Possingham & M Maron (2015). The development of the Australian environmental offsets policy: from theory to practice. Environmental Conservation DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S037689291400040X