Biodiversity Incentive Strategy
The City of Busselton contains an extensive range of biodiversity values of regional, state, national and international significance. The City is the location of the Ramsar-listed Vasse-Wonnerup wetland and other conservation category wetlands. There is an unusually high occurrence of declared rare flora (DRF), with the majority of these being endemic to the City of Busselton (i.e. they are not native to other parts of the world). There are some 50 different vegetation complexes (types) present within the City of Busselton. For many of these complexes, only 30% or less of their original extent remains, making them endangered or critically endangered.
Much of the City has been cleared, leading to loss and fragmentation of bushland and wetland areas. Population growth and agriculture continue to put pressure on the remaining natural areas in the City. The majority (56%) of remnant bushland and wetland areas in the City are located on private property (EMRC, 2004). Thus, the involvement of private landholders is essential to the protection and effective management of the remaining biodiversity values.
In 2002, the City adopted the Biodiversity Incentives Strategy for Private Land in the City of Busselton (the Strategy), in recognition of this need. This put the City at the forefront of biodiversity protection in Western Australia. Commencing in 2008, a review was conducted of the original Strategy and included consultation with landholders, agency stakeholders, and other interested parties.
The Strategy offers two types of financial incentives in exchange for long-term protection and management of biodiversity values on private property. These are a Rate Rebate Incentive and a Subdivision Incentive. The incentives are offered to encourage eligible landholders to voluntarily protect biodiversity values on their properties. Based on the review findings, the incentives were modified to make them more appealing to landholders and to reduce approval process transaction costs.