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Biodiversity certification orders


Biodiversity certification orders

Biodiversity certification is conferred through an order made by the Minister for the Environment. The biodiversity certification order is published in the NSW Government Gazette.

A biodiversity certification order: 

  • identifies the party or parties involved in the biodiversity certification, which can be the applicant or any person or body agreeing to participate
  • describes the land being certified
  • lists any associated conservation measures to offset impacts on biodiversity on certified land
  • may set out ways to avoid or minimise the impacts on biodiversity on certified land.

Parties to a biodiversity certification or a biodiversity certification agreement must carry out the conservation measures and conditions set out in the biodiversity certification order or agreement.

The department maintains a public register of all orders made for the conferral, extension, suspension, modification or revocation of certification.  

To view the orders, visit Register of biodiversity certification orders.

Biodiversity certification agreements 

The Minister for the Environment can enter into a biodiversity certification agreement with any person or body, even if they are not a party to the certification. 

Not every biodiversity certification proposal will require a biodiversity certification agreement.  

Biodiversity certification agreements run with the land and bind any successive landowners to their conditions.  

A biodiversity certification agreement can be useful when: 

  • specific conservation measures on land not owned by a party to the certification are required to offset the impacts on biodiversity on the certified land
  • security for the future implementation of conservation measures is required. 

The responsibility of local government under biodiversity certification orders and agreements

Unless a council is a party to biodiversity certification or a biodiversity certification agreement, it is not responsible for ensuring that the required conservation measures have been met.

The department is responsible for monitoring compliance with biodiversity certification orders and biodiversity certification agreements. 

If a council becomes aware of non-compliance with an existing order or agreement, officers can notify the department, who can carry out a range of actions, including: 

  • issuing financial penalties  
  • ordering the rectification of the failure
  • suspending or revoking certification.

Development applications 

Local government can’t determine a development application that depends on the outcome of a biodiversity certification application.

If a development application relies on a Biodiversity Certification Assessment Report and proposed biodiversity certification for biodiversity assessment, approval depends on receiving biodiversity certification.


  • When biodiversity certification is conferred, the department must notify the council within 21 days (section 8.24 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016). 
  • Local government must also be notified of any biodiversity certifications that have been modified, extended, suspended or revoked. 

In most cases, local government will already be aware of any biodiversity certification proposals because the department encourages early and ongoing consultation with local government throughout the Biodiversity certification process.  

Planning certificates 

  • Local government must include biodiversity certification information in planning certificates issued under section 10.7 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.  
  • The biodiversity certification information lets interested parties know about the development potential of the land.

For specific information about biodiversity certification, contact the relevant regional office of the department. For a list of regional contacts, please go to Scheme contacts.