The two MBIs most commonly associated with biodiversity are auctions and offsets. In an auction, the seller makes a bid (or tender) on the cost to manage their land for biodiversity conservation and the buyer selects the lowest-cost bid. In an offset, an off-site action beneficial to biodiversity is required to counterbalance an on-site action that damages biodiversity.
Australia has a number of MBIs for biodiversity-impact compensation. Offset programs include New South Wales's BioBanking program, Victoria's BushBroker, and Queensland’s numerous offset policies. And auction programs include the BushTender and EcoTender developed by Victoria's Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Governing law and entities:
In November 2007, the Australia Federal government released a draft policy statement and discussion paper for the use of environmental offsets. However, there has been no further public progress of this policy to date; rather, there is a range of legal and policy provisions at the Commonwealth and State level that may be used to set up market-based instruments for biodiversity conservation. One example of state-level policy is New South Wales' BioBanking Scheme commenced in July 2008. The framework for the scheme was established under Part 7A of the Threatened Species Conservation Act of 1995 and is supported by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act of 1979, Threatened Species Conservation (Biodiversity Banking) Regulation 2008, and BioBanking Assessment Methodology (the methodology).
In most cases the unit traded is a hectare of land under conservation management or restoration.
Service areas are chosen on project-by-project basis, usually according to administrative and biological conservation criteria.
All of Australia's States have programs in place or pilot projects. There are a total of 11 active programs in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania; and three programs in development in Northern Territory and Queensland.
Market Activity and Value:
Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia are actively implementing one-off offsets; and the BushBroker, South Australian Native Vegetation and Scattered Tree Offsets Program, and BioBanking program are using mitigation banking to deliver offset credits. The Australian government funded early market-based activity through their National Market-based Instruments Pilots Program, which committed up to AUD$10 million in 11 pilot projects in Round 1 and 9 in Round 2; the program ceased in 2008. The dollar volume of the Victoria’s programs exceeds $5.9 million (BushTender
- AUD$4.5 million from 2001 to 2010; and BushBroker
- AUD$11.4 million from 2006 to 2009, with AUD$1.4 million in 2008-2009 alone).
Land Area Protected or Restored:
Aggregate information on land area conserved is not available for most programs. Exceptions include:
- the BushBroker program, which has reported conserving 700 hectares cumulatively from May 2006-November 2009;
- the BushTender program, which has reporting conserving 17,000 hectares cumulatively;
- the PlainsTender program, which has reported conserving 5,000 hectares cumulatively;
- and the Biobanking program, which registered its first agreement in 2010 covering 80 hectares, a site in 2011 covering 24 hectares, and 6 additional sites to be finalized that will cover more than 1,700 hectares