1. What is the difference between an OEH VCA and NCT TA?
- A VCA is a Voluntary Conservation Agreement offered by the Office of Environment & Heritage while a Trust Agreement is offered by the Nature Conservation Trust.
- They are technically exactly the same legal device providing in perpetuity legal protection over a part or all of a private property of the natural and cultural values present on the land.
- The main material difference is that a VCA guarantees you rate relief while a TA does not.
2. Can I get rate relief on the covenanted part of my property with an NCT TA (covenant)?
- It is possible, but not guaranteed. Individual applications will be considered by LGAs and approved or rejected.
3. I have a small property of <20ha with threatened species. Can I organise to get a covenant put on it?
- Possibly. While we generally look at properties of 50ha and above, there are exceptions to this rule and we encourage anyone considering a covenant to complete an expression of interest form on the website or by clicking here
4. What restrictions will an NCT TA put on us from using our land?
- Every covenant is different so it is important to discuss your situation with a member of our team. A covenant can be broken into 3 zones with zone 3 being the more restrictive and operating in effect like a national park would, while zone 1 is much more relaxed and allows more flexibility. You should not make any assumptions about which zones would operate on your land but contact our team and speak to someone about having your property assessed. Click here to contact our team
5. Can we have a dog/cat?
- Generally speaking, yes. However, a zone 3 area would prevent domestic animals. As always common sense prevails particularly around cats and wildlife and ensuring that cats are kept in at night.
6. Can we ride a horse in the covenanted area or our property?
7. How much does a covenant cost?
- Funding for covenants usually comes from third parties in order to protect a particular type of habitat that supports certain species. The cost of the covenant is borne by that organisation. As the size of the property can make a difference to the scale of the survey required, the cost can vary but broadly they cost around $25,000.
8. Who is responsible if my neighbour damages the conservation covenant?
- Obviously, good neighbourly relations are essential to ensuring a harmonious life on the land and most neighbours are great. However, if a neighbour’s stock are getting into the conservation area, then we will work with you and the neighbor to address and rectify the situation as soon as possible.
9. Can the NCT TA prevent coal seam gas mining or other mining on my property?
- No, the Mining Act provides powers to the Government and also mining companies to apply for an exploration licence to enter your property to determine what minerals may exist beneath your land. At this stage, though, a situation has not arisen where this might be tested, so what we cannot guarantee is that the TA might, indeed, provide some degree of public relations barrier and potentially defer or hold up any possible mining right approval.
10. Can the whole of my property be put under covenant?
- Potentially, it would depend on the conservation values present. For 99% of our properties, even those where the covenant sits on the majority of the property there is usually always a building envelope of around 1 hectare. But for many of the properties we work on the covenant sits on less than 50% of the property.
11. Will the covenant affect the value of the property?
- Yes. In the bulk of cases by around 10%, however over a 20+ time frame, the impact on value would be negligible.
12. What tax concessions or deductions apply to a conservation covenant?
- Please visit the ATO’s advice here for more information on tax concessions as they relate to a covenant and we recommend you seek advice from a registered tax professional.
13. Can I graze stock in a conservation area?
- Possibly. Zones 1 & 2 provide scope for grazing. The level of grazing pressure is determined in consultation with the NCT ecologist and considers issues of reducing oxidising plant matter where grazing can promote growth and reducing fuel loads to manage bush fire risk.
14. What is the NCT’s policy on feral animal control?
- The NCT works with Local Land Services to provide expert knowledge and approaches for managing pest species on private land. Under the Local Land Services Act 2013, all land managers have an obligation to control declared pest species on their land.
- Where possible we try and coordinate with neighbouring properties to ensure that any eradication program is as effective as possible.
15. What does the NCT do about bushfire management or reducing fuel loads?
- The NCT is part of the RFS (Rural Fire Service ) Hot Spots program which provides training to landholders and land managers to provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to actively and collectively participate in fire management planning and training.
- For more info on the Hots Spots project visit www.hotspotsfireproject.org.au
16. Do I have to notify the NCT if I wish to undertake any development in a conservation area?
- Yes, under the agreement you must notify the NCT staff of aby proposed changes to the property that might affect the conservation area.
17. Do I have to notify the NCT when I wish to sell or lease the property?
18. What is a Revolving Fund property?
- A Revolving Fund property is a property we have purchased through our Revolving Fund. We then place a covenant on the property and re-sell it to a new private owner. The funds are returned to the Revolving Fund and we purchase another property. This is then said to have been “revolved”, thus Revolving Fund.
19. What is the difference between a Covenanted Property and a Revolving Fund Property?
- A covenanted property has not been purchased by us but has had a covenant placed on it, while the latter has been purchased by the NCT.
20. My property is largely cleared, would it be suitable for a covenant?
- Unlikely, however it may contain a small remnant which might be significant. If in doubt it is best to complete an expression of interest by clicking here.
21. I have a property for sale, would the NCT be interested in buying it?
- Possibly. Complete a sellers expression of interest here.
22. I am looking to buy a property that protects important habitat but none of the properties on your website suit my needs, can the NCT help me find the right property?
- Yes! Complete a buyers expression of interest here. You can also engage us under a management agreement to find a specific type of property for you. To enquire contact our Sales Manager, Adam Dawson on 0448 801 391.
23. What is biodiversity offsetting?
- Biodiversity offsetting is third stage of the development consent hierarchy. Where a development is proposed they are first required to 1. Avoid, 2. Mitigate and then 3. Offset the impact. A final stage is called supplementary measures is only rarely used in highly unusual circumstances.
- An offset is the protection of an area to offset the impact of an area being lost elsewhere for development. The offset area is typically four times larger than the area being lost and must be placed under an in perpetuity covenant to ensure its future protection.
- The offset must meet certain “like for like” characteristics to ensure that the vegetation community being removed is the same being protected. Offsetting also has many ancillary benefits for the local community by way of species measures like wildlife bridges, landholder engagement which leads to more landholders wanting to get involved in conservation, community events celebrating the achievements and creating other values including tourism, school excursions that educate the next generation about the importance of conservation and the value of our natural world; and further funding opportunities.
24. Can I build a house on a covenanted property?
- Yes, but not in the conservation area.
25. Does the general public have the right to enter the land?