A NSW Government website

Biodiversity offsetting


‘Avoid, minimise, offset’ hierarchy 

The NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is based on the ‘avoid, minimise, offset’ hierarchy. The scheme’s approach:

  1. considers whether the development can avoid a negative impact on the environment
  2. considers whether the development can minimise any negative impacts that cannot be avoided
  3. once all reasonable steps to avoid or minimise environmental impacts have been exhausted, uses a transparent, consistent and scientific approach to assess biodiversity values to consider whether any remaining impacts can be offset.

The aim of offsetting

Biodiversity offsetting seeks to ensure that development and clearing in New South Wales proceeds in an environmentally sustainable manner and prevent unacceptable impacts on native ecosystems and species.  

Offsetting also provides an incentive to protect biodiversity on private land by providing an income to landholders with stewardship sites, enabling in-perpetuity biodiversity conservation outcomes to be achieved through private land conservation.  

Biodiversity gains compensate for biodiversity losses

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme aims to achieve a standard of ‘no net loss’ of biodiversity.  

Biodiversity offsetting allows biodiversity values gained at a biodiversity stewardship site to compensate for biodiversity values lost to development or impacts at another location.  

A biodiversity stewardship site is a location where native vegetation and threatened species habitats are protected in-perpetuity and can be improved by management actions such as fencing, weed control, pest control and planting native species. See Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements.