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Greater offsets transparency needed

A call for more transparency and greater efficiency have formed the central points in the Institute’s response to the Queensland Government’s call for submissions on its recently released Offset Discussion Paper.

While the Institute supports the current framework and general concept, the UDIA Queensland has advised state government that members have substantial concerns over the operation of the current framework in at least six areas. 

Overall, the Institute highlighted the need for:

  • Greater transparency of offset arrangements by local government
  • More efficient payment arrangements for offsets
  • Retention and enhancement of limits to overlapping of environmental values relevant to offsets
  • Offsets financial settlements and land-based outcomes to be received by and coordinated by the state alone
  • Maintenance of the Significant Residual Impact basis for offsets and replication of this approach to MLES
  • Improved proponent driven land-based delivery arrangements.

The Institute’s submission also explored the issues of:

  • The impact that lack of transparency has on the community’s views about development in their local area and how this feeds into a lack of community awareness of the benefits of development
  • How a poorly designed or operated offsets framework at a local government level can discourage developers from investing in that location and the flow on impact of this on local economic development and jobs creation
  • How the current requirement to acquit offsets within the local government area in which they were collected is resulting in very significant missed opportunities to put offset payments to work on regionally significant ecological benefits
  • The deleterious effect on affordability that the duplication of matters of state environmental significance (MSES) and matters of local environmental significance (MLES) has for homebuyers who are the group who ultimately pay the price of delay-driven cost escalations
  • The need for the Department of Environment and Science to take a lead role in providing opportunities for land-based offset to reduce the complexities currently associated with this offset option and optimise ecological outcomes.

For further information on the submission, please contact Institute Policy Executive Robert Tily via rtily@udiaqld.com. To view the submission, please follow this link here.