A NEW South Wales Upper House committee that examined the integrity of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme has handed down its report after an eighteen-month inquiry.
The Upper House committee, which included members of the government, opposition and crossbench, received over 100 submissions and held four hearings into the scheme.
Committee Chair Ms Sue Higginson said, “An offsets scheme is supposed to protect biodiversity, by ensuring developers offset unavoidable biodiversity losses due to development with equivalent biodiversity gains elsewhere, meaning there is ‘no net loss’.”
The inquiry heard that the scheme’s design allows too much flexibility to trade off threatened species in exchange for cash, without guarantee that genuinely equivalent offsets will ever be found.
“We have heard that this scheme’s operation is so opaque and complex that no stakeholder group has…