The NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (BOS) is about to change!

May 23, 2024

News & Insights

Ahead of the NSW Government’s anticipated response, Lawrence Smith, Executive Director, Commercial, shares his insights into the themes and key recommendations of three recent reports.
 
Penny Sharpe, Minister for Climate Change, Energy and the Environment, said:
 
‘We are committed to fixing biodiversity offsets and stopping runaway land clearing. We have adopted a whole-of-government approach to tackling climate change, and we have boosted environmental protections to their strongest level yet. And we continue to expand protected areas to conserve crucial habitat.’
 
If the key recommendations of these recent reports are effectively adopted, this will support the drive for urgent and positive change in our NSW environment and in our communities.
 
The calls to action are in these three reports:
 

 
There is progress and…hope:
 
NSW DCCEEW is now developing an implementation program to deliver the five-year BAM review report’s 15 immediate and seven short term recommendations.
 
Interestingly, changes required to the BAM resulting from reforms to (BC Act review) legislation will be considered in parallel with the BAM review report recommendations.
 
There isn’t a specific timeline for the NSW Government’s response to the BC Act final report recommendations, however I understand a response is imminent.
 
Below, I have summarised key aspects of each report.
 

The NSW biodiversity outlook report 2024

 
This report covers a large range of indicators from 2007 to 2023, to give a representation of the status and trends of biodiversity across New South Wales. This is the second outlook report.
 
The 2024 NSW biodiversity outlook report states:
 

  • 50% of threatened species expected to survive the next 100 years.
  • Retention of biodiversity significantly reduced due to habitat loss and climate change.
  • Only 29% of the capacity of habitat to support native species remains.

 
Key actions recommended in the report:
 

  • Habitat Restoration: Prioritise habitat restoration efforts to enhance biodiversity.
  • Threatened Species Conservation: Focus on protecting and recovering threatened species.
  • Climate Adaptation: Address climate change impacts on biodiversity.
  • Invasive Species Management: Combat invasive species threatening native ecosystems.
  • Water Management: Improve water quality and availability for ecosystems.
  • Community Engagement: Involve communities in conservation efforts.

 

Review of the NSW BAM (Biodiversity Assessment Method) – March 2024

Key themes for action in the 2024 NSW BAM (Biodiversity Assessment Method) review:
 
Habitat Restoration – Threatened Species Conservation – Climate Adaptation – Invasive Species Management – Water Management – Community Engagement.
 
Six immediate recommendations (of 15) for revision to the BAM:

  • Improve consistency in assessing offsets.
  • Simplify the assessment of cumulative impacts.
  • Strengthen the assessment of connectivity.
  • Enhance the assessment of threatened ecological communities.
  • Streamline the assessment of stewardship sites.
  • Provide clearer guidance on assessing biodiversity credits.

 

Independent panel review of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 – 2023.

 
Key themes for action in the NSW BC Act Independent panel review:
 
Nature Positive Strategy – Species Recovery – Investment in Conservation – Ecosystem Repair.
 
There are six key recommendations in the August 2023 final report:
 

  • Propose fundamental reform with a nature-positive approach.
  • Develop (spatial) tools to address habitat destruction and fragmentation.
  • Integrate biodiversity considerations into planning and decision-making.
  • Enhance efforts for threatened species and ecosystems.
  • Promote proactive outcomes and reduce compliance costs.
  • Focus on biodiversity regeneration and habitat restoration.

 
It is not all bad news. 
 
The area of NSW land permanently secured for conservation has grown to 11%.
 
At Niche, we want our work to leave a positive impact on nature.
 
Our contribution to improvement in conservation includes:
 

  • The first and the largest biodiversity stewardship site in NSW.
  • Since then we’ve evaluated and protected thousands of hectares of habitat, establishing more sites than any other consultancy in NSW.
  • Resulting in the establishment – to date – of approx. 33,000 ha of in perpetuity conservations sites.

 
Find out more
 
Reach out to our expert consultants to find out what these changes to the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme mean for your project in NSW
Read more about our expertise in Biodiversity Offsetting and Natural Capital; and  Ecology – Terrestrial and Aquatic 
See us at the EIANZ Biodiversity Offsets Conference 2024
 
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About the author

  • Lawrence Smith GAICD

    Executive Director – Commercial

  • Simon Tweed B Env Sc (Hons)

    Manager – Natural Capital Strategy

  • Dr Cairo Forrest BSc (Hons), PhD (Ecology/Genetics) | Accredited Assessor

    Practice Leader – Ecology

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