I'm sure you agree that polluters should have to do something positive for the environment to offset their impact - but we should be the ones to decide what's a fair offset, not gas companies or big industry. We need a strong offsets policy to make sure that they do the right thing - and you can have your say on the NT Draft Offset Policy now.
What is the Offsets Policy?
The Northern Territory Government are in the process of developing an Offsets Policy to regulate biodiversity and carbon offsetting. Offsets are designed to balance out negative impacts of a development or activity by doing something that delivers positive environmental outcomes. The offsets policy has been developed to bring the NT into line with other states and territories, fulfil recommendations from the Fracking Report and combat biodiversity decline in the NT.
Why is it important?
This policy will guide the carbon offsetting required to meet the governments’ emissions reduction target and make sure that emissions from gas fracking are offset. The Policy is theoretically able to reduce the environmental impacts of intensive development such as mining. We need to make it as strong as possible, especially considering the commencement of fracking activities in the NT by Origin and Santos.
ALEC's take on it
ALEC is in principle supportive of an Offsets Policy being developed for the NT but has several reservations about offsetting in general and this draft Policy. We think that this is a weak example of an offsets policy, and could, in fact, create perverse incentives and be powerless to deliver positive environmental outcomes. Unless it is rigorous, accountable and verifiable, offsetting could be used as a licence to pollute. It is important that the final policy is in line with best-practice offsetting and that biodiversity offsets are not used to compensate the impact of carbon pollution.
What can you do?
A draft Policy has been released for public consultation. You can be involved with this process by sending a submission or completing a policy survey by the 14th February.
Please get in touch with us if you would like support writing a submission or if you have any ideas about how to improve the SREBA framework.