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Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework

An environmental offset compensates for unavoidable impacts on significant environmental matters, (e.g. valuable species and ecosystems) on one site, by securing land at another site, and managing that land, to replace those significant environmental matters that were lost.

Please note disclaimer at bottom of page.

Rehabilitation area - Photo by Dirk Van Kampen

Quick facts

Environmental offsets can be triggered
for a range of environmental values, including wetlands, and by a range of activity types. The Environmental Offsets Act 2014 requires administering agencies to make available a register of offsets for inspection.

Environment offsets framework

Under the Environmental Offsets Act 2014 an environmental offset is defined as an activity undertaken to counterbalance a significant residual impact of a prescribed activity on a prescribed environmental matter.

An environmental offset may be required as a condition of approval where—following consideration of avoidance and mitigation measures—a prescribed activity is likely to result in a significant residual impact on a prescribed environmental matter(s).

Figure 2

Figure 2 highlights the key elements that must be considered to determine whether or not an environmental offset may be required. Detailed information on each element is located on the Queensland environmental offsets website.


Queensland’s environmental offset framework provides a structure for delivering, measuring, monitoring and securing environmental offsets. The framework is comprised of:

  • Environmental Offsets Act 2014, which coordinates the delivery of environmental offsets across jurisdictions and provides a single point-of-truth for offsets in Queensland
  • Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014, which provides details of the prescribed activities regulated under existing legislation and prescribed environmental matters to which the Act applies
  • The Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy, which provides a single, consistent, whole-of-government policy for the assessment of offset proposals to satisfy offset conditions.

The Significant Residual Impact Guideline is used for consideration of all potential offset requirements for Matters of State Environmental Significance, for applications made under the Environmental Protection Act 1994Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Marine Parks Act 2004. For applications made under the Planning Act 2016 or repealed Sustainable Planning Act 2009, you may contact the Department of State Development, Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning for their significant residual impact guideline. Both Significant Residual Impact Guidelines are used to determine if a residual impact from a prescribed activity is significant.

An impact site assessment tool assists in the identification of the full extent of all significant residual impacts on prescribed environmental matters contained on an impact site. You can request to have the impact site assessment results emailed. The email generates a report and spreadsheet (in an attached csv file) of the impact site assessment results. This tool is not mandatory, however, applicants are encouraged to use the tool and submit the csv file results with their relevant development application.

The Landscape Fragmentation and Connectivity Tool enables a decision to be made on the significance of an impact on connectivity areas containing remnant vegetation Category B. The tool is available at the Queensland Spatial Catalogue (search for “offsets”) link.

For further information on the relationship between prescribed activities and prescribed environmental matters see section 3.3 of the General guide (PDF, 758KB), which provides a summary of prescribed environmental matters that may be subject to an environmental offset requirement for each type of prescribed activity

Additional information


While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this product, the Queensland Government and Australian Government make no representations or warranties about accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose and disclaim all responsibility and all liability (including without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages (including indirect or consequential damage) and costs which might be incurred as a consequence of reliance on the product, or as a result of the product being inaccurate or incomplete in any way and for any reason.


Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2021) Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework, WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 May 2021. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science