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Publications archive - The Biodiversity Toolbox


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

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Incentives & Supporting Mechanisms

The information contained within this section has been obtained from Incentives for Sustainable Land Management: Community cost sharing to conserve biodiversity on private lands, A guide for local government (Revised Edition) (P. Bateson, 2001). For a brief explanation of each option, click on the relevant title below.

Please Note: Some documents below are in PDF format. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files.

Rate Rebates

Rate rebates (or discounts) provide on-going financial recognition of the conservation efforts of landholders on behalf of the wider community. In return for a reduction in rates, the landholder agrees to maintain the land, conserve remnant vegetation or take other agreed conservation measures. A differential rate can also be used to achieve similar objectives for vegetation conservation.

Bass Coast Shire Council
Johnstone Shire Council, Queensland

Tax Concessions

Recent changes to the Australian Government's Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 allow for tax concessions for some conservation initiatives. These include placing permanent conservation covenants on land and donating land to an eligible environmental body. See the Department of the Environment and Water Resources New Tax Incentives for Conservation - Fact Sheet for further information.


Councils may provide financial assistance to individual landholders or groups of landholders. Council grants (or annual cash payments) for biodiversity conservation purposes, such as fencing of remnant vegetation or rehabilitation of wildlife habitat, are a direct financial incentive for "on the ground" works and stewardship by landholders. Grants can be linked to other mechanisms such as management agreements and rate relief, or to non-financial support such as training.

Download Surf Coast Shire Council, Victoria (surf-coast.pdf - 17 KB)
Coorong District Council, South Australia
Colac-Otway Bay Biodiversity Conservation Incentive Program

Local Award Schemes

Recognition of efforts to conserve biodiversity can include local award schemes facilitated by councils. Such public recognition, acknowledgment and encouragement could be assisted by sponsorship from local industry and businesses.

Wollongong City Council, New South Wales
Cardinia Shire Council, Victoria

In addition, the Australian Government initiative "National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Local Government" recognises achievements by Local Governments in various areas. There are a number of categories including "Environment - Natural Resource Management: Partnerships for Biodiversity Conservation". For further information, contact:

National Office of Local Government
Australian Government's Department of Transport and Regional Services
GPO Box 594

Training, Technical Support and Materials

These are important motivational incentives for landholders to integrate biodiversity conservation into whole farm planning. This approach may or may not be linked to financial incentives (eg, as a requirement for participants in a rate rebate scheme). Educational materials, tailored to local landholders needs, can form part of training ideally taking place on their properties. Training could also include self-assessment and monitoring techniques.

Internal training programs are important to involve council planners, engineers and others in conserving biodiversity consistent with planning objectives and local policies.

The provision of materials (eg, tube stock native plants) and other assistance (eg, loan of equipment, access to databases) are important incentives.

Shire of Nillumbik, Victoria
Wollondilly Shire Council, New South Wales

Development Concessions / Bonus Development Rights

These are development incentives allowing rezoning, development approval or other concessions in exchange for conservation of a given area. This involves negotiating with a developer to either forego the ability to develop a portion of a site with important biodiversity values or place strict conditions on its use and on-going management. In exchange, the developer receives concessions regarding the development of the remainder of the site or land elsewhere. This may require rezoning.

Some councils are considering schemes in which such development rights can be traded on the open market. Such a scheme can be used to prevent development on a site of high conservation value, while transferring the development right to another site of low conservation value.

Johnstone Shire Council, Queensland.
PO Box 887, Innisfail. Qld 4860
Ph 07-4030 2222; Fax 07-4061 4258

The Pinelands Development Credit Program, New Jersey, USA.

Management Agreements

These voluntary agreements are contracts or binding agreements between the landholder and Council, which set conditions for management to meet agreed conservation objectives. Management agreements such as voluntary conservation agreements (VCAs) or conservation covenants are usually registered on the title of the land, and are binding on successive landowners and councils.

Some management agreements are for an agreed period of time, and are not registered on title. Some agreements may involve voluntary rezoning into a conservation zone within a local planning scheme. Rezoning will not necessarily provide long-term security for the conservation values of the land, unless it also requires a permanent agreement or covenant, binding on title.

Councils can provide financial incentives to encourage and support landholders entering into management agreements. Examples include rate rebates, grants for on-ground works, assistance with property management and planning.

Johnstone Shire Council, Queensland
Brisbane City Council, Queensland
Gold Coast City Council, Queensland

Land for Wildlife is a voluntary non-binding agreement to manage land for nature conservation purposes, supported by local extension officers who provide management advice. In Queensland and the Northern Territory, Land for Wildlife is being delivered by local government.

Land for Wildlife contacts:

NT: contact (Alice Springs Town Council) or (Litchfield Shire Council)

Other and search using keywords "Land for Wildlife"

Revolving Funds

A revolving fund allows for the purchase of land of high conservation value (for example, bushland), its protection by rezoning or placing of a covenant on the land and resale to be managed for conservation purposes. Some Councils offer rate rebates on such properties.

Revolving funds are usually managed by conservation trusts such as the Trust for Nature (Vic), the National Trust of Australia (WA), the Nature Foundation of South Australia, the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, and the Daintree Rainforest Foundation.

Environmental Levies

Levies are a flat charge on households applied by a council that can be used as an enabling mechanism to raise revenue for funding a specific environmental program or buying land for conservation purposes. They also highlight to the community what the benefits are from such a levy.

Eurobodalla Shire Council, NSW
Wingecarribee Shire Council

Developer Contributions

Developer contributions or levies could be required by a council to help provide the community with open space or bushland.

Wingecarribee Shire Council
Alcoa Frog Watch
Market Based Instrument Pilot Program