The Environmental Offsets Bill 2014, passed by Queensland parliament on 22 May 2014, requires proponents conducting prescribed activities that have a significant residual impact on a prescribed environmental matter to offset those impacts.

While the requirement to offset environmental impacts is not new, the aim of this Bill is to streamline all the existing environmental offsets legislation into one. Currently, environmental impact assessments may be undertaken by multiple levels of government, with varying offset conditions being imposed by each level of government, relating to the same activity. The Bill aims to prevent the overlap of offset conditions by, as an example, preventing the State from imposing environmental offset conditions in relation to a prescribed activity if the Commonwealth has already imposed conditions.

The Bill will be supported by the Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014 and a Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy.  The public may make submissions regarding the draft Regulation (which is available on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s website) until 6 June 2014.

The Bill is estimated to come into force in July 2014.