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Biodiversity offsetting in NSW drives habitat loss and super profits for a lucky few

The Nature Conservation Council will today refer to ICAC the sale of biodiversity offset credits in relation to major roadworks in Western Sydney.

Lisa Cox at the Guardian Australia today has revealed more details of windfall profits made by those associated with EcoLogical, a company that advised the government on biodiversity offsets in relation to the proposed M12 motorway and the Northern Road expansion. [1]

“These reports are deeply concerning and undermine public confidence in the whole offsetting system,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.  

“They also raise many unanswered questions about how this scheme is being administered. 

“The community must be satisfied that people who have made huge windfall profits through the sale of biodiversity offset credits did not have access to private reports and other insights that may have given them an unfair advantage. 

“The government must explain who and on what basis credits were issued for the offset sites, how the sites were selected for purchase, and how the prices for those offsets were set.  

“How was it possible for windfall profits to be made by a very small number of people in a very short period of time? 

“We are writing to ICAC today asking it to look into this matter using its powers to investigate matters affecting community confidence in public administration.  Only ICAC can properly investigate, examine and cross-examine all the issues. 

“The problem with commodifying natural assets like water and biodiversity is they inevitably become prey to speculative investors rather than being managed and protected for in public interest. 

“We believe the whole system of offsetting now must be the subject of an urgent review to ensure it does what the public expects -- protects threatened wildlife and bushland in a rigorous and transparent way.”

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/28/deeply-concerning-government-consultant-made-millions-from-nsw-environmental-offsets

 

 

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