Posted on July 19, 2023 by Katie Mortimer and Bianca Crapis

Biodiversity Assessment Method Review & Monitoring of the Biodiversity Credits Market by IPART

Public consultation is occurring in connection with a review of the Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) by the Minister administering the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the monitoring of the biodiversity credits market by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

Review of the Biodiversity Assessment Method 

Section 6.9 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 requires the Minister administering the BC Act to review the BAM as soon as possible, 5 years after the BAM is first established.

That review process is underway, with public consultation occurring between 14 July – 11 August 2023.

The Department of Planning and Environment have published a BAM Review Consultation Paper, which sets out information concerning the BAM and its legislative context, and focus areas for the BAM review. DPE state that the focus areas reflect stakeholders’ experience and recommendations from the 2022 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Integrity of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (see our post here).

The focus questions that DPE are seeking responses to, are:

  1. Do you have any suggestions for how BAM assessments could be made faster, cheaper or easier without compromising scientific rigour?
  2. What changes could be made to the BAM to clarify requirements and documentation for avoiding and minimising impacts, and to strengthen outcomes?
  3. How could SAII assessments under the BAM be clarified or better supported to help improve transparency, consistency and outcomes?
  4. Should the BAM require further consideration of cumulative biodiversity impacts in an area proposed for development? If so, do you have any recommendation for how this could be assessed?
  5. Do you have any suggestions for improving how the BAM applies to very large or long, linear projects without increasing complexity?
  6. Do you have any suggestions for how the BAM could be improved for applying in extreme conditions such as severe bushfire, prolonged flooding or prolonged drought while maintaining a consistent standard?
  7. Do you have any suggestions for improving how the BAM applies in derived vegetation communities or transitions between different vegetation types without increasing complexity?
  8. Are there ways the BAM could better consider connectivity and encourage conservation of high biodiversity value/good condition sites?
  9. Are there ways the BAM could better consider the gain achieved through active restoration to help incentivise protection of degraded areas?
  10. Are there ways the BAM could better consider existing credit obligations?

The BAM Review Consultation Paper is available here.

IPART Issues Paper – Monitoring the Biodiversity Credits Market in NSW 

Separately, IPART is monitoring the performance of the biodiversity credits market over a 3 year period, commencing from the Financial Year 2022-2023.

IPART’s first annual report will be published in December 2023, examining the market between 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023.

On 3 July, IPART published an Issues Paper that outlines the general approach it will take to monitoring the credits market. IPART is seeking feedback on the Issues Paper, and the following specific issues:

  • what a well-functioning credits market would look like and what outcomes it would deliver
  • what [IPART] will report on to measure market performance and competition
  • factors affecting supply, demand and market function and governance that may prevent the market from functioning as intended

The Issues Paper is available hereIPART is accepting submissions until 4 August 2023. After considering any feedback received, there will be a public hearing in September 2023.

We will post further updates once the BAM Review and IPART’s Annual Report are finalised.

To discuss this post, please contact Katie Mortimer on 8235 9716 or Bianca Crapis on 8235 9728.