Biodiversity offsets team successfully retires Parkes to Narromine credits

In July, the NSW Biodiversity Offsets team ticked off its first major milestone by retiring all 4,606 biodiversity credits for the Parkes to Narromine (P2N) section in New South Wales.

North Prairie Farm near Moree, NSW

This means that Inland Rail has successfully compensated (offset) in perpetuity the unavoidable impacts on biodiversity from construction of the 103km section (which was completed in 2020) by protecting and managing similar vegetation on private land elsewhere.

P2N is the first Inland Rail section to fully meet a biodiversity offset obligation, which was a requirement of the project’s Conditions of Approval.

Dave Fleming, Inland Rail’s Senior Offset Advisor NSW, said retiring the P2N offsets requirement is major achievement and recognition of some great collaboration between stakeholders and landowners.

“This represents over four years’ work by many people in ARTC Inland Rail, accredited assessors, landowners and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT),” Dave said.

“We’ve now established five new Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement (BSA) sites with landowners from the local area, a BSA on an ARTC-owned property and fully funded an existing offset site.”

Each BSA is an agreement between the landowner and the BCT to manage vegetation for biodiversity gain and ensure that the vegetation on each property is protected.

The NSW offsets team completed lengthy negotiations with each landowner to ensure each BSA site could be integrated into their existing farming operations with management actions that were complimentary to their needs.

ARTC has purchased the credits created from each BSA site and provided funding to landowners to allow them to carry out activities to protect and actively manage their vegetation over the next 20 years. Additional site maintenance funding is also provided and guaranteed in perpetuity.

The Inland Rail Biodiversity Offsets Program is one of the largest offset programs being delivered in New South Wales on record and focusses on properties in central western NSW.

When completed in approximately 2025, it will have secured an estimated 80,000 ecosystem credits, which is the equivalent of protecting about 20,000 hectares of vegetation in perpetuity across numerous sites.

For more info on Inland Rail’s biodiversity offsets program in NSW, visit the Inland Rail website to download our program brochure and fact sheets.