Five offsets policies condensed into a single framework in Queensland, Australia — Amendments to Environmental Offsets Act 2014

Queensland Panorama By MCaviglia (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently, the Queens­land Par­lia­ment voted to pass the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and Other Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment Bill 2014 (EPOLA Bill) as part of the Queens­land Government’s green­tape reduc­tion reforms. EPOLA makes changes to the Envi­ron­men­tal Off­sets Act 2014 (EO Act). Read below extracts from two com­ments by Clay­ton Utz Lawyers and Prop­erty Coun­cil of Aus­tralia that sum­ma­rize the major changes. Find fol­low­ing the Pdfs:

Clay­ton Utz: Queensland’s green­tape reduc­tion reforms take impor­tant step with pas­sage of EPOLA

Prop­erty Coun­cil of Aus­tralia: EPOLA passes Parliament

See also the EPOLA Bill  and the amend­ments to the Bill and find the Pdfs here:

Queens­land Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and Other Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment bill 2014

Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion and Other Amend­ment bill 2014

Sum­mary of changes by Clay­ton Utz Lawyers

There are a num­ber of pos­i­tive ele­ments for the indus­try in the new frame­work, par­tic­u­larly the sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of five off­sets poli­cies being con­densed into a sin­gle frame­work which applies to both the State Gov­ern­ment and local gov­ern­ments. There are, how­ever, sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns remain­ing regard­ing the poten­tial for dupli­ca­tion to con­tinue between off­set require­ments imposed by dif­fer­ent lev­els of government.

The changes intro­duced as part of the EPOLA Bill aim to clar­ify the oper­a­tion of the leg­is­la­tion. While some ele­ments are clearer, and local gov­ern­ments will be per­mit­ted to charge less than the capped amount, we con­tinue to hold con­cerns regard­ing the deci­sion to exclude Com­mon­wealth deci­sions of ‘not a con­trolled action’ and ‘not a con­trolled action– par­tic­u­lar man­ner’ from the frame­work. By inten­tion­ally exclud­ing these deci­sions, many pro­po­nents will con­tinue to see dupli­ca­tion of off­sets across lev­els of government.

Sum­mary of changes by Prop­erty Coun­cil of Australia

The amend­ments to the Off­sets Act make it manda­tory for an admin­is­ter­ing agency to con­sider any rel­e­vant off­set con­di­tions that are already imposed on an author­ity issued under another Act for the same or sub­stan­tially the same pre­scribed impact and pre­scribed envi­ron­men­tal mat­ter. The amend­ments clar­ify when a local gov­ern­ment, as the admin­is­ter­ing agency, can impose an envi­ron­men­tal off­set con­di­tion and pro­vides a process for remov­ing dupli­cate off­set conditions.

New pro­vi­sions also clar­ify the process of how off­sets are to be deliv­ered and now pro­vide that an agreed deliv­ery arrange­ment may be entered into with an admin­is­ter­ing agency before or after an author­ity for a pre­scribed activ­ity has been granted. This is aimed at pro­vid­ing greater flex­i­bil­ity in off­set deliv­ery, includ­ing staged offsets.

Under the amend­ments, until an agreed deliv­ery arrange­ment has been entered into, no works that impact on the pre­scribed envi­ron­men­tal mat­ter to which the off­set con­di­tion relates can start.

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