THE West Australian Government has released a new Environmental Offsets Policy that aims to ensure that economic and social development may occur while supporting long term environmental and conservation values.
Released on Tuesday by Environment Minister Bill Marmion, the policy seeks to promote consistent decision making and conserve important environmental and biodiversity values and provide certainty, predictability and transparency to government, businesses and developers.
"The WA Environmental Offsets Policy is a cross-government initiative and its release supports the Government's continuing commitment to environmental approvals reform," Mr Marmion said.
Offsets may include acquisition of land for conservation; revegetation of natural areas outside the project area; or improving scientific or community understanding and awareness of environmental values affected by a development.
The Minister said the policy was developed by the Ministerial Taskforce on Approvals, Development and Sustainability.
"Peak representative groups, including the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies; World Wildlife Fund; Conservation Council of WA; Chamber of Minerals and Energy; Urban Development Industry Association; Property Council of WA; and the Housing Industry Association provided valuable input to the policy's development and I thank these groups for their contribution," he said.
The Offsets Policy is guided by a number of principles, including that offsets will only be considered after avoidance and mitigation options have been pursued; and that offsets are not appropriate for all projects, with the applicability of offsets to be considered on a project-by-project basis.
More information about the Western Australian Government's Environmental Offsets Policy is available from the Department of Environment and Conservation website at <http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/>.