Media Archive / UDIA says Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is not working for environment or development

UDIA says Biodiversity Offsets Scheme is not working for environment or development

UDIA NSW acknowledges the release of the report from the Upper House inquiry into the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme (Scheme) and believes that the Scheme is not working, neither for biodiversity nor development.

Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) NSW is increasingly concerned that the current system regulating biodiversity conservation in NSW is overly complex and undermines government’s strategic goals for conservation, housing and jobs because of the uncertainty built into it.

In our advocacy, UDIA relies on evidence-based research. Last year we commissioned the ecology firm EMM to undertake a comprehensive review of the Scheme that resulted in an issues paper outlining how the Scheme is not delivering good outcomes and is creating vast uncertainty both for biodiversity and development.

The system has become a major constraint to delivering the jobs, housing and infrastructure expected by government, particularly in key regional NSW markets.

In UDIA’s Greenfield Land Supply Pipeline Report, released in October 2022, we found that over 60% of new housing lots across the Hunter and Central Coast, and over 40% across the Illawarra-Shoalhaven, are currently held up due to issues in navigating the Scheme.

“Clearly the Scheme is contributing to the housing shortage in NSW and driving up housing costs, at the same time it is delivering suboptimal environmental outcomes,” said Steve Mann, CEO, UDIA NSW.

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is currently undergoing its 5-year review, and UDIA is calling for meaningful changes to ensure the biodiversity regulatory system is effective and equitable to achieve these key criteria:

  • Improve biodiversity outcomes;
  • Reduce the complexity of the system; and
  • Increase certainty to meet governments’ strategic goals for housing and jobs.

UDIA looks forward to working constructively with government and other stakeholders to improve the Scheme and provide more certainty for environmental, social and economic outcomes and for our future supply of residential and employment lands necessary to keep the state and the economy running.

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