About Offsets

In Victoria, a permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation. 

The Permitted clearing of native vegetation – Biodiversity assessment guidelines  (the Guidelines) outline how impacts on Victoria's biodiversity are assessed when an application to remove native vegetation is lodged.  The Guidelines are an incorporated document in all Victorian planning schemes.

Unless an exemption applies, a permit to remove native vegetation is granted subject to an offset which makes an equivalent contribution to Victoria's biodiversity. Offset requirements are determined in accordance with the Guidelines.
The offset requirement will outline:
  • the type of offset which is required (A general offset or a specific threatened species offset);
  • the amount of offset which is required (in biodiversity equivalence units); and,
  • any specific attributes the offset is required to have (such as the locality, strategic biodiversity score and/or species habitat).
The offset requirement will depend on the nature of the loss that results from the permitted clearing.

In addition, the Commonwealth Government is increasingly adopting offsets as a tool to minimise and mitigate the impacts of development on Matters of National Environmental Significance.

VegetationLink can help facilitate the identification and trading of credits that meet the requirements of both Victorian and Federal environmental agencies.

What is an Offset?

An offset can be one, or a combination of the following:
  • improvement in the condition of existing vegetation with ongoing management and protection using an appropriate security arrangement
  • revegetation of a site with ongoing management and protection using an appropriate security arrangement. Note there are restrictions on when revegetation can be considered an offset.
The Native vegetation gain scoring manual sets out the rules regarding site eligibility, offset security and how gain from an offset is calculated. In most cases, a habitat hectare assessment is required to calculate gain.

What is a Native Vegetation Credit?

A native vegetation credit is a tradable gain in the extent and/or quality of native vegetation relevant to a specific native vegetation asset that is subject to a secure and ongoing agreement that meets the standards of the DEPI Native Vegetation Credit Register.

Credits can be purchased from third-parties and allocated to meet permit requirements.