Protecting your bush and managing it for nature conservation can pay financial rewards. All over Australia developers of everything from housing estates to mines are looking for native bush to offset clearing they do as part of their project. We maintain a large nation-wide database to match developers looking for environmental offsets, with landholders wanting to be paid to protect and conserve their remnant bush. To date we have worked with scores of farming families to help protect over 100,000 ha of native bush across a large range of different projects.
What are environmental offsets?
Essentially, an environmental offset involves compensating for impacts on the environment or biodiversity at one site through activities at another site. As a condition of project approval, developers and mining companies are often required to provide offsets in order to ‘counterbalance’ the environmental impacts of their projects e.g. clearing of protected vegetation and habitat. This typically involves protecting and managing areas of equivalent vegetation and habitat at other sites.
Landholders who have native vegetation on their properties that meets the developer’s requirements can be paid to improve, protect and maintain that vegetation under legally binding arrangements with the Government.
Your land may be suitable as an offset if it has areas of remnant or advanced regrowth vegetation that contains:
- threatened ecosystems or vegetation types
- habitat for threatened plants or animals
- movement corridors for native animals, or
How does it work?
Landholders interested in becoming offset providers can register their interest with CO2 Australia and provide basic details about their native vegetation so we can match it to developers’ requirements. When a potential match is found the landholder is contacted and, if still interested, CO2 Australia conducts a staged assessment of the vegetation to see if it meets all or any of the developer’s requirements. This occurs at no cost to the landholder. If the land is deemed suitable for an offset, CO2 Australia facilitates the negotiation of terms between the developer and the landholder and – if agreement is reached – the process is initiated whereby the vegetation is permanently protected and the landholder is compensated.
What do I need to know?
- Offsets legislation varies greatly between the Commonwealth and the various States and Territories. You should seek expert advice about your particular property.
- Some types of native vegetation and habitat are more valuable as offsets than others, especially if it is habitat for threatened, rare or endangered species. CO2 Australia can advise you on the status of your vegetation types and the level of interest in offsets in your region.
- The ‘demand’ for offsets can be patchy and sporadic. It is driven by development and being on the register is no guarantee that your land will ever be considered as an Offset. However there is significant development going on in many parts of Australia and a strong market for offsets in those regions.
- Registering your interest with CO2 Australia is totally cost free, completely confidential and comes without any obligation to offer your vegetation as an offset, even if we find a developer who is interested in it.
If you think you might have native vegetation on your property that is suitable as an offset you should get in touch with CO2 Australia for a no obligation discussion about your options.
CO2 Australia also runs regional workshops and information sessions on offsets around Australia. If we don’t have one planned in your area we are happy to talk to you about organising one and we welcome partnering with farming and other community groups to host workshops tailored to your local region and needs.