Updated September 2017
About the policy statement
The policy statement provides guidance on the Australian Government’s approach to the use of advanced environmental offsets and should be read in conjunction with the EPBC Act environmental offsets policy and the How to use the offsets assessment guide.
Advanced offsets are a supply of offsets for future use, transfer or sale by proponents or offset providers. Unlike conventional offsets, which are generally put in place to compensate for the residual adverse significant impacts of an action on matters of national environmental significance following approval, advanced offsets are put in place before any impact occurs.
The Australian Government encourages the use of advanced offsets where practical. Advanced offsets can:
- improve environmental outcomes for matters of national environmental significance through early implementation of conservation benefits and more strategic offset delivery
- provide more efficient resource allocation compared to more conventional offset approaches, and streamline the environmental assessment process under the EPBC Act.
National environment law prescribes that offsets cannot be considered at the referral stage. At the pre-referral and referral stages the Department can advise on how an advanced offsets proposal meets the principles in the policy. Prior to assessment the Department cannot provide certainty on the suitability of an advanced offset proposal in compensating for any future impacts of a specific project. For the offset’s suitability for a particular project to be determined the project will have to be referred and proceed to the assessment stage.
The Department of the Environment released the Draft policy statement: Advanced environmental offsets under the EPBC Act for public comment from 17 August 2015 to 12 October 2015.
Preparing an advanced environmental offset
To guide proponents and offset providers on preparing an advanced environmental offset, the Department provides the following documents:
- Factsheet: Advanced environmental offsets criteria outlines what information the proponent or offset provider can collect to demonstrate a conservation benefit at the assessment stage.
- Frequently Asked Questions addresses questions of process regarding submission of an advanced offset proposal.
Contact the Department
If you would like further information about the Policy please contact the Department’s Business Entry Point using one of the following methods:
Business Entry Point
Environment Assessment Branch
Department of the Environment and Energy
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Clearly mark the email as ‘EPBC Act Advanced Offset Policy’.