When you can't avoid or minimise the impact on the environment, it's important to have an offset plan in place
An offset strategy will:
- Identify the legislation applicable to the project (such as a major project or significant infrastructure) and the assessment of an offset site
- Identify the offset obligation that has been attached to the project from the conditions of approval (or if it’s a draft strategy, the likely offset requirements)
- Identify the legal pathways for meeting the offset obligation. Usually, this is in the form of finding an equivalent land-based offset site, paying into an offset fund or funding other conservation measures (such as research on a threatened species)
- Identify how the offset obligation will be met by the project (using one of the three methods identified above, or a combination)
- If land-based offsets are being used, a description of the offset site including where it is located, its legal status (freehold, leasehold), what habitats or vegetation occurs on it and how much and what type of management is required to improve the biodiversity values
- Identify the vegetation and habitats present on the site, usually through an ecological survey or threatened species survey
- How the offset site will be legally secured (protected from other clearing or development)
- How much management of the site will cost of the lifetime of the management plan (eg. 20 years, 50 years or in perpetuity)
- What will happen to the site once the offset obligation has been met (if a finite time is required)
- A summary and conclusion about the offset strategy to demonstrate that the offset obligation can be met.
With regards to our approval conditions, N2N will likely have some biodiversity conditioning along the lines of the conditions from the approved Narrabri to North Star Phase1 project. The conditions can be downloaded from here. The relevant conditions are E17 to E26.
It's your turn 🙌
Head to your Memobook, and following the instructions above, draft up an offset strategy that will meet the approval conditions for the N2N project and deliver the best outcome for the environment along the alignment.