Biodiversity Stewardship isn’t for everyone, but if you are a landowner and have some part of your land that is unusable for other purposes, then generating Biodiversity credits may be an economical and biologically sustainable use for that land. The NSW government needs more Biodiversity Stewardship sites to generate the credits needed into the future, and there are significant financial returns available.
You may not need us, but the Biodiversity Offset scheme is still relatively new and is not easy to navigate. We have worked with the OEH through the introduction of the new legislation and can assist you through each step of the scheme. We engage experienced assessors, consult regularly with the OEH and BCT and understand the credit market. We may also be able to help mitigate the upfront financial risk of an assessment and help implement a profitable sales strategy.
The agreement with the government is in perpetuity. So is the provision of funds from the government trust fund to maintain it. When you pay your Total Fund Deposit into the trust fund, it is invested by the government to grow in value. Amounts are paid back to you each year to cover the costs of maintaining your site (as determined by the assessor) and will continue to be paid to you or to anyone that buys your land. The agreement with the government to maintain your site will transfer to the new owner if you sell your land, as will the ongoing funding to maintain it. Remember, you don’t have to commit all of your land to a Stewardship Site, most landholders just apportion part of it.
Farmers and Rural Landowners who have land with native vegetation that might support biodiversity and would like to generate profit and income.
Developers, Mines, and Infrastructure projects clearing native vegetation who will need to offset their development.
Corporations, organisations and individuals who want to secure and protect biodiversity for environmental and philanthropic reasons.
Local Councils & State Government Departments who have been given the legislative responsibility to approve offset requirements on developments involving land clearing.
To obtain species information you can contact a business such as BDS, accredited assessors, the Biodiversity Conservation Trust, or the Office of Environment and Heritage.
There are a range of contributing factors that will determine the final income and profit from creating and selling credits. Recent credit transactions range from hundreds of dollars up to approximately $30,000 per credit depending on demand and availability. Landholders will be able to negotiate the sale price of their biodiversity credits with the credit buyer. A portion of the sale price must be paid into the Stewardship Payments Fund to cover the costs of managing the site in perpetuity. The remaining income from the credit sale is kept by the landholder, as profit.
There are a number of steps involved from commencement to the final payment. The current process is largely manual and requires approval by the Biodiversity Conservation Trust at numerous stages. The process of finalising Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement can take a number of months, and the process of selling the credits depends on the demand, but could range from a number of months to a number of years.
There is a risk that costs to establish the BSA may not be recovered in your desired timeframe due to demand at the time. Establishing a BSA precludes other activities such as logging and urban development which should be considered in terms of resale. There is a small risk that you may not be able to carry out management actions, but this risk is mitigated as the Total Fund Deposit allows for management actions to be completed by contractors.
A BSA has effect in perpetuity unless it is terminated by consent of the Minister.