Property Policy: Use of WAPC land for environmental offsets

The Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) has state-wide responsibility for urban, rural and regional land use planning and land development.
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One of the WAPC’s statutory responsibilities under the Planning and Development Act 2005 is to acquire lands required under a region scheme for parks, recreation, road reserves or other public purposes. In fulfilling this role, the WAPC takes ownership of land across the Perth Metropolitan, Peel and Bunbury regions and seeks to ensure these assets are used for long-term community benefit. Although much of the land acquired by the WAPC is eventually converted to an appropriate long-term tenure and management arrangement, considerable areas of land are retained and managed by the WAPC at any one time, with the assistance of the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH).

From time to time the WAPC or DPLH receive requests to use WAPC owned land for environmental offsets. An environmental offset is where an environmental benefit or improvement is created to counterbalance an environmental impact occurring elsewhere. Environmental offsets can be required under the State Environmental Protection Act 1986 or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .

Many of the properties held by the WAPC have been acquired for the purpose of protecting important environmental values, including significant bushland identified under the State Government’s Bush Forever program. As this land has high environmental value, it is on occasion identified by proponents as having potential to provide an environmental offset, such as through improved management or revegetation works.

To guide decision making on requests for the use of WAPC land for environmental offsets, the WAPC has adopted the below policy.

Importantly, this policy is not a land use planning or environmental regulation policy. Rather, it is a policy to assist WAPC decision making as a landowner.