A new streamlined approach to environmental offsets will improve environmental outcomes, cut green tape and reduce costs.
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the Environmental Offsets Bill which was introduced in parliament today would replace five separate Queensland Government offsets policies.
“Environmental offsets are a component of the assessment process that enables development to proceed,” Mr Powell said
“Offsets compensate for unavoidable impacts on significant environmental values by making sure an equivalent environmental outcome occurs elsewhere.
“Unlike the previous Labor Government that was focused on quantity not quality and green tape not green outcomes – this new framework adopts a more strategic, big picture approach to ensure the future protection of Queensland’s environment.
“Labor’s adhoc approach meant there was a patch work quilt of areas set aside delivering very little environmental benefit. Under this framework we can direct offsets to locations that will deliver the greatest environmental outcome.
“This new framework will also reduce costs and regulatory burden and avoid duplication across the three levels of government.
“This simplified and scientifically-based approach will provide greater certainty that an offset can indeed be achieved.
“There has been significant and ongoing engagement over two years across industry, government, natural resource management and conservation sectors in the development of the new framework.
“By working with industry and not against them we will deliver strong environmental outcomes and sustainable economic growth for Queensland.
“We know the environment is not a political plaything and this legislation will ensure environmental offsets policies are enshrined in law.”
The five offset policies set to be replaced by the Environmental Offsets Bill are:
- Queensland Government Environmental Offset Policy (2008)
- Marine Fish Habitat Offsets Policy (version FHMOP005.2)
- Policy for Vegetation Management Offsets (2011)
- Queensland Biodiversity Offset Policy (2011)
- Offsets for Net Gain of Koala Habitat in South East Queensland Policy (2010).