Law Reform · Nature & the Reef

Have your say on the new offset laws

17 February, 2014

Submissions close on Monday, 24 March 2014.

Offsets are highly controversial. How can it be acceptable to damage the environment and counterbalance the damage elsewhere?

The Queensland Government has introduced the Environmental Offsets Bill to provide for a single offsets policy to replace all five existing Qld offset policies concerning koalas, vegetation, marine fish habitat and biodiversity.

The Bill has been referred to a Parliamentary Committee. You can now put in your submission to this inquiry. The best method for lodging a submission is attaching a typed letter via email (for an example format see here). The deadline for submissions and the date of any public hearing will be available shortly on the Committee's website.

EDO Qld will be preparing a submission, at the moment our serious concerns are that the Bill:

  • does not require "environmental equivalence" between the offset and damage from the development;
  • excludes coordinated projects ie major projects like Abbot Point terminal expansion from the standards and criteria in the Bill;
  • only deals with "significant residual impacts", not all residual impacts of development that can’t be avoided;
  • appears to be aimed at providing benefits to industry rather than clear environmental outcomes, for instance describing offset mechanisms as "shelf-ready products";
  • anticipates Commonwealth accreditation of an ineffective State offset policy.

A public briefing by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will be held on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 at Parliament House in Brisbane. A timetable for the hearing and briefings will be published on the committee's website closer to the date.

Stay posted for further alerts.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.