Information about offsets

What are offsets

Offsets are a regulatory tool that can be used to compensate or “offset” the residual impact of an action or set of actions on the environment.

The use of an offset is only ever considered when avoidance and mitigation measures have been exhausted and residual impacts remain. Offsets are used to compensate for these residual impacts and are intended to achieve long-term, secure and measurable environmental outcomes.

The most common types of offsets used in Australia and around the world are biodiversity offsets and greenhouse gas emissions offsets.

  • Biodiversity offsets: are offsets designed to compensate for impacts on the environment or biodiversity at one site through activities elsewhere.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions offsets (GHG): actions undertaken to reduce or absorb GHG emissions in one location/locations (e.g. via sequestering carbon in replanted forests) in order to compensate for an increase in GHG emissions produced elsewhere.

What is the Territory-specific target-based offsets model?

The Territory-specific target-based offsets model is designed to facilitate strategic offset programs that deliver landscape-scale outcomes. This approach recognises the Territory’s unique environmental characteristics and supports improved environmental outcomes.

This offsets model will use targets designed to address the most serious environmental threats or those elements of habitat or biodiversity which are most threatened, valued or amenable to recovery.

This approach supports offset actions that apply a strategic and holistic approach to species protection, biodiversity and ecosystem management. This differs from traditional offsetting approaches that focus on a single species or habitat type, usually within a small area.

Read the Target-based outcomes offsets model factsheet PDF (565.2 KB) for more information.

Last updated: 09 July 2020

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