BushBroker (Victoria)

BushBroker is a program to facilitate native vegetation offsets in the State of Victoria. The program is copmliane-driven as permits are required to clear native vegetation. Victoria's 2002 Native Vegetation Management Framework: A Framework for Action policy sets a 'net gain' objective and provides the framework for offsets. In 2006, the BushBroker program was initiated to help those clearing native vegetation find offsets. The BushBroker program works primarily on the supply-side, identifying landowners willing to preserve and manage native vegetation. A government representative of the BushBroker program then assesses the site and determines the number and type of credits available. Both credits created and needed from development impacts are assessed using the same 'habitat hectares' methodology. Credits are created through conservation gains from management actions, protection, maintenance of quality, and improvement. The BushBroker website notes that potential buyers of credits on the Native Vegetation Credit Registry. However, in practice this is not a publicly accessible online database. While mitigation hierarchy of avoidance and minimization (before offsets) is required in the Native Vegetation Regulations under the Planning and Environmenta Act of 1987, much of the detail of the demand-side of biodiversity offsets in Victoria is laid out in the 2002 Native Vegetation Management policy. The Framework details impacts that must be offset, like-for-like conditions, and requirements for the proximity of offset relative to the impact site. Neither impacts nor offsets are allowed in areas of 'very high' conservation significance except in 'exceptional circumstances.' Clearing in 'high' or 'medium' areas of conservation significance is generally not permitted, but some clearing may be permitted in areas of 'low'conservation significance. Credit demand generally comes from road building, housing development, water supply pipeline development, and landholder vegetation clearance. Demand has been modest, with vegetation clearing applications only totaling a few hundred hectares of land annually. However, planned expansion of Melbourne is expected to impact 5,200 hectares of native vegetation and the Victorian government is proposing a new reserve of over 10,000 hectares that will provide credits through BushBroker over the next decade. In effect the government will be creating a consolidated bank of credits. Offset supply has generally been from agricultural landowners, but in limited circumstances the government accepts payments in lieu of offsets with money used to purchase credits. To dat, there are three active and sold-out banks. The Victorian government will increase their role as a broker in the BushBroker program by providing online tools, hands-on outreach and facilitation with landowners. The government is also planning to facilitat the creation of banks in bioregions with sufficient credit demand. Additionally, a trial auction will be held to generate competition for new credit supply banks. While landowners in Victoria have the ability to sell offsets to developers within the BushBroker program, there are other financial incentive programs for native vegetation protection and management in Victoria that have become popular. BushTender and PlainsTender have four- or five-year agreements (unlike the permanent protection required by BushBroker) and have delivered more financial incentives and hence more hectares protected or improved than BushBroker.

Program Statistics

Date Established: 2006 Status: Active Program Type: One-Off Offset
About the program:
Annual size of program (area): 175 (hectares) Year of Data: 2009
Cumulative size of program (area): 700 (hectares) Years of Data: 2006 - 2009
Annual payments of program (US$): 1,200,000 Year of Data: 2009
Cumulative payments of program (US$): Years of Data: -
Notes on program size or payments:

The program size / cumulative program size information came through personal communication. The cumulative size (as of 2009) was divided by the four years the program has been in existence (2006-2009). Program payment figures are estimates - for details, see the State of Biodiversity Markets methods appendix available at: http://www.ecosystemmarketplace.com/documents/acrobat/sbdmr_methods.pdf.

Species or habitat types (if applicable): Large old trees' (LOTS) Plains Grassy Woodland, Damp Heathy Woodland, Banksia Woodland, Stony Knoll Shrubland, Blackthorn Scrub, Dry Valley Forest, Foothill Box Ironbark Forest, Riparian Shrubland, Riverine Escarpment Scrub, Valley Slopes Dry Forest, Riparian Scrub, Swampy Woodland, Valley Grassy Forest, Riverine Grassy Woodland, Woorinen Mallee, Herb-rich Foothill Forest, Shrubby Foothill Forest, Creekline Grassy Woodland, Plains Woodland Plains Grassland, Escarpment Shrubland, Plains Grassland, Rocky Chenopod Woodland, Stony Knoll Shrubland
Notes: BushBroker webpages: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrence.nsf/LinkView/90D1EEF7733B9CD7CA256FA4001617CE4F65BBF1E5A3A721CA25720C00167A65, http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrence.nsf/LinkView/02AB1847A6C8C0DCCA2574D4000527A5544ABC860B2506F7CA257004002550CC, http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrence.nsf/LinkView/29F2EEFD882B07D5CA2574D400070D92544ABC860B2506F7CA257004002550CC
Bank regulator information: Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment Last Updated: September 23, 2010