Plibersek’s biodiversity credits ‘won’t save koalas’, Greens say


However, many major environmental groups made submissions urging the government to prevent biodiversity credits generated under the scheme from being used as offsets – which are currently regulated under different state and Commonwealth schemes.

The conservation groups warned selling biodiversity credits for offsets could lead to developers determining the price and trade of nature.

Submissions from Humane Society International, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Wilderness Society urged biodiversity credits be barred from use as environmental offsets.

“By financialising the destruction of nature, offsets allow destructive players to continue business as usual and ‘offsetting’ their impacts on nature,” the Wilderness Society said.

ACF urged Plibersek to deliver the government’s election commitment to bolster national environment laws and introduce new national standards for development assessments, before embarking on her market reform.


“Linking ‘nature repair’ so closely to the generation of offsets risks facilitating the destruction of more existing wildlife habitat,” ACF said.

Greens environment spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said her party would not support the bill in its current form.

“Nothing in this bill will save Australia’s koalas from extinction. Until we have laws that protect critical habitat and stop native forest logging, no amount of market spin will save nature,” she said. “The inclusion of offsets as part of a market intended to repair nature is a red flag. What is to stop this from becoming a free pass for industry to continue destroying the environment?”

Nationals leader David Littleproud said Plibersek’s bill “looks to be near verbatim” to the bill he proposed, but did not legislate, during the previous term of government. He said shadow cabinet would review the bill before deciding to support it.

Plibersek said the government was developing a new set of national environment standards to regulate development damage to nature, offsets should only be used as a last resort, and if they are used, they should overcompensate for any damage done.

“Labor is strengthening our national environmental laws to deliver the strongest protections for our environment in Australian history. For the first time, there will be a requirement to leave nature better off.”

The Senate on Wednesday called an inquiry into the bill before it is put to a vote.

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.


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