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Review of Queensland's Environmental Offsets Framework

Queensland Government is undertaking a comprehensive review of Queensland’s Environmental Offsets Framework.

The aim of this review is to critically evaluate the effectiveness of Queensland’s Environmental Offsets Framework since its introduction in 2014. This review provides an opportunity to identify what is working well, and make any necessary improvements to ensure Queensland has a world-class, internationally recognised approach to environmental offsets.

To undertake this comprehensive review of the framework, Queensland Government is focusing on the following five key areas:

1.  Environmental outcomes

  • Evaluate the environmental outcomes that have been delivered since the framework was introduced
  • Review which activities and environmental values currently require offsets
  • Examine areas where offsets are, and are not, appropriate
  • Determine the level of compliance with offset delivery plans

2.  Alignment with best practice

  • Identify approaches to offsets that have worked well internationally, as well as in Australia, at the national, state and local level
  • Examine advancements in offset delivery and implementation that may be beneficial in the Queensland context
  • Collaborate with local government to explore innovative ways to deliver offsets
  • Explore opportunities to deliver more strategic and coordinated offsets for all environmental values

3.  How we measure offsets

  • Review the methods used to quantify and measure the improvement of the environmental values as part of an offset
  • Review the cost of providing a financial settlement offset
  • Review the 1:4 ratio cap in place to limit the size and scale of some offsets

4.  Security and transparency

  • Review the process and existing methods available to legally secure an offset area
  • Explore opportunities to reduce time delay by facilitating a greater supply of advanced offsets and direct benefit management plans
  • Investigate the implementation of a mitigation banking scheme in Queensland
  • Evaluate the method used to appropriately address risk of the offset not succeeding
  • Explore methods for improving transparency in the delivery of offsets
  • Continue to monitor the performance of the environmental offsets framework

5.  Offset opportunities

  • Explore methods to encourage further landholder participation and provide benefits to the broader community
  • Partner with others to explore opportunities for the delivery of offsets which deliver additional social, economic, cultural and environmental co-benefits

Consultation

As part of the review, Queensland Government has undertaken extensive consultation with stakeholders to get feedback on the current Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework.

The discussion paper Review of the Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework (PDF, 2.91MB) was released in February 2019 for a nine week period which invited people to make submissions with their feedback. During this time 118 written submissions were received.

Queensland Government also met with a number of key stakeholders including local governments, Traditional Owner groups, NRM groups, offset brokers and environmental consultants, as well as the conservation, resource and extraction, urban development, agricultural, energy and legal sectors.

Next steps

The Department of Environment and Science will report to Government with the results of the review in the second half of 2019.

Any proposed changes to Queensland’s Environmental Offsets Framework that have been identified in the review will be incorporated into a draft action plan. It is anticipated that there will be consultation on a draft action plan towards the end of 2019.

Please email offsetsreview@des.qld.gov.au if you require further information.