Biodiversity offsets are often hotly debated in academic, development and conservation forums but what are the outcomes in practice?
In New South Wales, Australia the government has established a conservation fund to protect priority biodiversity areas. The funding will be derived over the next 25 to 30 years from a special infrastructure contribution that applies within designated Growth Centres and from general government revenue. Three quarters of the conservation fund is used to implement the Growth Centres Biodiversity Offset Program. The aim of the Program is to permanently protect some of the best remaining bushland in western Sydney and the surrounding areas.
Tom Grosskopf and Derek Steller from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will set out the policy context, describe the offsetting tools used and show the outcomes of the program. The focus of the presentation will be the practical environmental outcomes and the costs of achieving them. Three real world examples will be described and compared against the business as usual approach to development in Australia’s largest and most aggressively growing city.