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Determine and meet credit obligations


There are 6 steps to determine and meet a credit obligation as part of project planning and approvals.

1. Determine if the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme applies

In the early stages of a project, you must determine whether the scheme applies to the proposed activity. The scheme applies to a range of development and clearing proposals that meet certain thresholds.

To learn what activities and impacts activate the scheme, visit:  

2. Engage an accredited assessor  

If the scheme applies to your proposal, you must engage an accredited assessor to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method and prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report or Biodiversity Certification Assessment Report.

The Biodiversity Assessment Report sets out: 

  • how you have applied steps to avoid and minimise impacts on biodiversity
  • potentially serious and irreversible impacts on biodiversity  
  • the number and type of ecosystem and species credits required to offset residual impacts of the activity on biodiversity (credit obligations).

Find an accredited assessor

3. Submit the application and Biodiversity Assessment Report

Applications for development or clearing must include a complete Biodiversity Assessment Report for approval by the local council or other decision makers.

The application can also outline how you propose to meet your credit obligation. If you propose to use variation rules or biodiversity conservation actions as an alternative to retiring credits, you must demonstrate that you have applied the relevant Ancillary rules.

The decision maker will then assess the application to:  

  • determine any potential serious and irreversible impacts on biodiversity  
  • consider the proposed avoidance and minimisation actions to be included in conditions of consent
  • consider the credit obligation in the Biodiversity Assessment Report to be included in conditions of consent.

Biodiversity is just one of the issues considered by decision makers when determining whether to approve or refuse a development application.  

4. The decision maker sets the credit obligation  

If an application is approved, the conditions of consent may contain information from the Biodiversity Assessment Report, including:  

  • proposed measures to avoid and minimise impacts to biodiversity  
  • the credit obligation calculated for the activity.

The decision maker has the discretion to:  

  • require additional measures be taken to avoid and minimise biodiversity impacts (or to refuse an application based on those impacts)  
  • in certain circumstances, increase or decrease the credit obligation identified in the Biodiversity Assessment Report.  

If the obligation identified in the Biodiversity Assessment Report is decreased, the decision maker may be required to publish reasons or seek departmental concurrence for the reduction.  

Learn about Concurrence requirements for a reduced credit obligation.

The decision maker can also approve the use of alternative measures to meet an obligation (for example, using the variation rules or funding biodiversity conservation actions) in accordance with the ancillary rules.  

5. Meet the credit obligation

When the decision maker has issued the approval or consent, you must generally meet any offset obligation before the impact on biodiversity from your project can commence.  

Learn ways to Find biodiversity credits.

6. Project impact can commence

When the offset obligation has been met can you carry out the impacts on the biodiversity values represented by the credit obligation.  

The decision maker, approval authorities and scheme participants are responsible for ensuring compliance with the conditions of consent, including any measures to avoid and minimise impacts, and compliance with credit obligations.