Q: WHEN IS AN OFFSET NOT AN OFFSET?
A: When the rules change and the offset area gets developed.
Like me, I bet you thought that offset areas are permanent. The NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects (2014) states, as one of its principles, that “Offsets must be enduring, enforceable and auditable”.
Strong words, but that's not necessarily the case.
A large coalmine near Gunnedah has proposed some modifications to their project involving the clearing of 12.9 hectares of the offset area, including 4.5 hectares of Preferred Koala Habitat. The proposal was approved by the NSW Department of Planning in March 2015.
The goal posts have been moved, and it is a dangerous precedent.