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Planning and Environment Paper: Environmental offsets and intergenerational equity - Sept 2012

Environmental offset requirements have existed in Queensland for around 10 years. In recent times, 'specific-issue' offset policies have evolved to capture a broader range of environmental values and to include more prescriptive and onerous requirements. In addition to the many Federal and State policies, local governments are now also seeking to introduce local environmental offset policies.

Although preservation of various environmental values is important, the incremental creep of new and more rigorous offset policies raises issues of intergenerational equity and impacts on housing affordability. The next generation of new home owners will bear the cost of conserving biodiversity and other environmental values, whereas the broader community does not contribute to the cost of securing those values but benefits from their security. Moreover, this cost will be borne by new home owners in circumstances where those already in the market before offsetting requirements were introduced have not had such a cost imposed on them, despite the likelihood that biodiversity loss occurred in undertaking their particular subdivision or development.

Partner Sarah Persijn examines the concept and evolution of environmental offsets, and examines possible options for a more equitable approach, in this paper.

Please click the Download PDF button to download this paper.