Environmental Offsets Framework Discussion Paper Released

A discussion paper on Queensland’s environmental offsets framework has been released by the State Government, aimed at seeking community and industry feedback on the policy’s effectiveness.

This consultation is the first stage of a departmental review into the framework, which comes four years after the streamlined Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy was given effect. The Government anticipates that this review will result in legislation and policy amendments.

The Property Council was a leading advocate for the replacement of the five previous policies with a single offsets policy, and the mitigation of 'double counting' for offset requirements between all three levels of government.

While the Environmental Offsets Act 2014 proposed to simplify and regulate the offsets framework, the reality is that many offset requirements remain duplicative, costly and unreasonable - particularly at a local government level.

The review is seeking responses in relation to five key areas:
• Environmental outcomes
• Alignment with best practice
• How we measure offsets
• Security and transparency
• Offset opportunities

Consultation on the discussion paper closes on 15 April 2019. A Government ‘Action Plan’ is expected to be released mid-2019, with potential amendments to the framework expected to be introduced in 2020.

The Property Council will advocate through this process for the development of a strategic assessment of environmental values in the SEQ region, and an end to duplicative offset requirements imposed by many local governments.