NSW Government releases consultation material on comprehensive biodiversity reform package

The NSW Government is proposing to transform the way the way that biodiversity is managed, protected and considered in development assessment in NSW. The reforms adopt elements of existing policies and programs and implement the recommendations from the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel to government.

The consultation package [https://www.landmanagement.nsw.gov.au/] provides information on the multitudinous aspects of the reform, which includes legislation to replace the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Native Vegetation Act 2003 and other existing legislation in part or whole. The new legislation, currently the Biodiversity Conservation Bill, will include a new method to consistently assess biodiversity impacts and offsets, known as the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM). This will replace the now familiar FBA and Biobanking assessment methods. The proposed approach will establish a new set of rules to guide the offsetting of biodiversity from development impacts, and will also enable proponents to discharge their offset requirements by paying into a new Biodiversity Conservation Fund, whereby the proponent pays into the Fund, and the Biodiversity Conservation Trust is responsible for sourcing the biodiversity offsets needed.

Umwelt were invited to participate in early briefings to industry on the new package, and is already across the detail of the Biodiversity Conservation Bill, the BAM and the offsetting rules. Umwelt will be undertaking a thorough review of the package and providing comment.

The consultation period ends on 28 June 2016.

For further detail on this and how it might affect the project development process in NSW please contact Travis Peake, Practice Leader Ecology on (02)49 505 322 or tpeake@umwelt.com.au