In 2010 I carried out research into the use of offsets in the EIA process in WA. This lead to the pub,action of one paper, summarised below. Part of that research involved interviews with key stakeholders in the WA EIA process. This research was never published, but is summarised in a separate page on this website - click here to go to that page.
Review of Offsets in WA paper
This research reviewed the use of offsets in the Western Australian environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. An overview of offsets as a policy tool in EIA was provided, noting that it has its origins in the practice of ecological restoration and evolved into an EIA tool using a no-net-loss (NNL) principle. It was noted that NNL has some problems of implementation, and is most applicable in cases where the key impact involves loss of vegetation or fauna habitat, including wetlands. The WA Offset policy was studied in detail and it will be argued that two new types of offsets have emerged over time in response to the uncertainty associated with some major resource projects. The first type of offset is a ‘residual risk’ offset, which is provided in recognition of potential, but uncertain risks associated with the proposal. The second type is a ‘banked’ offset, which is an offset that is called upon only in the event that negative environmental impacts occur. These ‘offsets for uncertainty’ have the potential to be used more broadly as a policy tool in EIA where there is significant uncertainty of impacts, although caution should be used in applying them too widely, especially where residual risk is considered unacceptable.
You can download a copy of this paper by clicking here.