SYDNEY, June 14 (Xinhua) — The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has invested 106.7 million Australian dollars (74 million US dollars) in an effort to boost its “biodiversity compensation loans” scheme, which provides private individuals and companies for environmental protection.
Making the announcement on Tuesday, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the new fund would help public and private advocates secure biodiversity compensation credits through an efficient and trusted government fund.
“The Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund is a major advance for industry and the environment, and will boost economic activity while striking the right balance for wildlife conservation,” said Kean.
Under the scheme, individuals and companies must purchase “biodiversity credits” to offset development projects that would cause environmental impacts.
Likewise, projects that have a positive impact on the environment would receive the same credits that could be sold later.
For example, a farmer who cuts down a patch of trees to expand his farmland would have to purchase an equivalent number of credits that would be used elsewhere in the state for conservation.
“The fund will ensure there is a strong pipeline of biodiversity offsetting credits ready to roll out when needed, linking those credits to the advocates who need them,” said James Griffin, secretary of state for environmental protection. Environment of NSW.
“Ultimately, landowners will benefit by being paid to generate biodiversity compensation credits if they want to participate, while protecting and preserving biodiversity across New South Wales,” he added.
So far, the scheme has been used to benefit one of the state’s most iconic and newly endangered animals, the koala bear.
About 7,000 acres of private land statewide has been funded for koala conservation throughout the state.
“At least 60 percent of Australia’s land is privately owned or managed, and many important ecosystems can be found on private land, including precious koala habitats,” Griffin said.
In all, the trust has resulted in the signing of a total of 129 conservation agreements covering 81,100 hectares of high conservation value land and ecological assets in the state.