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Key Guidance


Assessment of impacts on vegetation, fauna and natural areas

Biodiversity is vital for supporting life on earth, supplying clean air and water, healthy ecosystems and fertile soils.  State significant projects are required to adhere to a comprehensive legislative and policy framework to avoid, minimise and offset the impacts of proposed development on biodiversity.

Guidance on the biodiversity offset scheme

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme delivers a transparent, consistent, and scientifically-based approach to biodiversity assessment and offsetting. The scheme applies to all state significant projects, unless the Planning Agency Head and the Environment Agency Head determine that the project is not likely to have a significant impact on biodiversity values.

View the Scheme

View the waiver requirements

Biodiversity assessment method (and associated guidance)

The Biodiversity Assessment Method (BAM) is a clear and scientifically robust approach to assessing biodiversity impacts from development. An accredited assessor will be required to apply the BAM to the assessment of the proposal.

View the Method

Guidelines for developments adjacent to national parks and other reserves

These guidelines instruct consent authorities when they assess development applications proposed within or adjoining national parks, aquatic reserves, marine parks and other types of conservation lands protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. 

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Aquatic species

Aquatic species of plants and animals may be impacted by State significant projects through loss of water quantity or quality, or obstruction of access to their normal habitat.  The following policy should be considered when assessing impacts of State significant projects on aquatic species.

Policy and guidelines for fish habitat conservation and management

The Department of Primary Industries has prepared these policies and guidelines aimed at maintaining and enhancing fish habitat for the benefit of native fish species, including threatened species, in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments.

View the Policy and Guidelines

Groundwater dependent ecosystems

Groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) are those which have their species composition and natural ecological processes wholly or partially determined by groundwater. They depend on groundwater for their existence and health. The following guidance should be considered when assessing impacts of State significant projects on GDEs.

View the Guidance

Terrestrial species

Land clearing and other activities associated with State significant projects may directly impact terrestrial plant and animal species through displacement and loss of habitat. The following policies should be considered when assessing impacts of State significant projects on terrestrial species.

NSW wetlands policy

This policy recognises the shared goals of government and the community in promoting the sustainable conservation, management and wise use of wetlands in NSW and the need for all stakeholders to work together to protect wetland ecosystems and their catchments. 

View the Policy

Last updated: 14/07/2023