Planning permit applicants must include an offset statement in their application. The statement must provide evidence that a suitable offset exists and can be secured. The following information sheet describes how to write a suitable offset statement:
You must secure an appropriate offset before you can remove native vegetation. There are two options to secure an offset:
- buy a native vegetation credit from a third party, or
- establish a first party offset site.
I want to buy a native vegetation credit from a third party
A third party offset is an offset site owned and managed by another landowner. The simplest way to meet your offset obligations is to buy native vegetation credits.
DELWP accredited brokers can help you find out if credits exist that match your offset needs. They will also complete and submit all the paperwork required to buy native vegetation credits from a third party.
DELWP maintains online information about native vegetation credits traded in Victoria. You can check this list to see the prices of previous credit trades. This will help you understand the potential cost of buying native vegetation credits.
I want to establish a first party offset site
Use the First party offset guide (DELWP 2018) to establish your own first-party offset site. You can only use a first party offset to offset native vegetation removal on your own land.
Once you have worked through steps 1 and 2 of the guide, you must assess the proposed first party offset site to determine how much gain is available. The two options to complete the assessment are below and described in step 3 of the First party offset guide:
An accredited native vegetation assessor completes a gain scoring assessment of the potential offset site in accordance with the Guidelines and Native vegetation gain scoring manual, Version 2. The Native vegetation gain scoring manual, Version 2 describes how gain is achieved and how this is calculated.
The gain calculator can be used to calculate gain in accordance with the Native vegetation gain scoring manual, Version 2.
DELWP maintains an online list of accredited assessors that you can contact. An accredited assessor can do the gain assessment and offset management plan for you for a fee.
Offset management plan
The accredited native vegetation assessor can develop the offset management plan, this will be tailored to the specific needs of the offset site.
Contact your local council planning department to discuss the type of security agreement preferred for their council area.
There are three options to secure the first party offset site, see step 2.2 and 2.3 of the First party offset guide for further information.
Below is a template section 173 agreement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 for first party offset sites. The council and the landowner work together to develop this legal agreement. The landowner then registers the agreement on-title through the Land Titles Office.
The online NVIM native vegetation offset tool enables landholders to complete their own assessment and calculates a gain score that can be used to establish a first party general offset site.
You can only use this tool to complete your own assessment to provide a general offset. If you need to provide a species offset, you must use an accredited assessor.
Step 3 of the First party offset guide explains how to use the NVIM native vegetation offset tool.
Offset management plan
If your land is suitable to be a first party offset, you need to develop an offset management plan. The plan describes how you will manage your offset, and your reporting requirements. Security agreement
You can secure your first party offset using a section 173 Agreement under the Planning and Environment Act 1987. Before you consider this type of security, contact your council planning department. The council and the landowner work together to develop this legal agreement. The landowner then registers the agreement on-title through the Land Titles Office.
Register the offset site on the Native Vegetation Offset Register
DELWP maintains details of first party offset sites on the Native Vegetation Offset Register.
To register the offset site email a copy of the signed agreement and attachments required in step 6.3 of the First party offset guide to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To use the first party offset site for more than one approval to remove native vegetation, landowners:
- must register the offset site on the DELWP Native Vegetation Offset Register, and
- submit a completed Offset allocation form each time an offset requirement is secured.
Fees apply when you register a first party offset site that will be used for more than one approval to remove native vegetation. Information about fees payable to establish an offset site are available here:
No fees apply to register a first party offset site that will only be used to meet a single approval to remove native vegetation.