The Territory Labor Government today released its Offsets Framework to continue to build a modern and effective environmental regulatory regime that supports jobs and protects our unique environment into the future.
The Offsets Framework contains a set of guiding principles that will be support by a biodiversity offset policy, a greenhouse gas emissions policy and technical guidelines for each policy.
The principles outlined in the Framework will guide the design and development of all types of offsets to provide consistency and certainty to the community, landholders, industry and businesses operating in the Territory.
The Offsets Principles are:
- Offsets must contribute to relevant Territory targets
- Offsets must be designed to deliver maximum benefit to the Territory
- Benefits of offsets must be additional and secured
- Offsets must be knowledge-based and design must be responsive
- Stakeholder engagement, disclosure and transparency is required
- Duplication of offsets must be avoided.
The Offsets Framework will be used to guide decisions related to environmental impacts only when they cannot be avoided or reduced to an appropriate level. For example, to offset greenhouse gas emissions produced by a project, actions can be undertaken at an alternate location to reduce the project’s emissions.
The Offsets Framework aligns with the Government’s Environment Protection Act 2019, the Climate Change Response and recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory.
The Offsets Framework was developed following extensive stakeholder engagement.
The end of June also marked the beginning of the Environment Protection Act 2019 which establishes clearer guidance on when a project must be referred for assessment for its impact on the environment, and sets out the criteria, principles and considerations by which a project must be assessed. Importantly, the Act provides for a range of opportunities for public participation and new requirements for all of the decisions and reasons for decisions will be published.
The Act also provides for new approaches to environmental protection, including environmental offsets and protected environmental areas.
As stated by the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Eva Lawler:
“The Territory Labor Government understands that a strong economy relies on a healthy environment and our unique environment needs a specific Territory approach.
“This is why we are implementing our Climate Change Response, it’s why we are creating jobs through our 50% renewables target, it’s why we are strengthening environmental protection laws, and why we are developing offsets policy.
“The Offsets Framework builds on the Territory Labor Government’s environmental protections and will provide certainty on the application of offsets in the Territory.
“This Territory Labor Government has made great progress in fixing up the disgraceful mess that Terry Mills and the CLP left after their term in Government.”