Licensed fund manager Angas Securities is pleased to bring to market $12m in biocredits following the subdivision and sale of land at Fernhill Estate in Mulgoa, New South Wales.

Situated in the Mulgoa Valley, approximately 60 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD, Fernhill Estate is one of New South Wales’ most historic and iconic landholdings. Completed in 1840, as a residence for influential pioneer Captain William Cox and family, the 690-hectare Estate has changed hands several times over the years.

In 1980, Fernhill was purchased by investor and property developer Warren Anderson who owned it for the next three decades. After Mr Anderson was declared bankrupt in 2010, licensed fund manager Angas Securities acquired the mortgage over the Estate, comprising four precincts; the Central Precinct, including the historic homestead; Eastern Precinct; Mayfair Precinct; and the Western Precinct.

Over the following years, Angas Securities oversaw a revitalisation of Fernhill to restore the homestead and the natural beauty of the grounds. As part of this, Angas Securities entered into biobanking arrangements across several precincts, offering a unique opportunity for developers and environmental consultants working on large-scale projects in Sydney, owing to the size of the available parcels. 

To date, Angas Securities has settled $35 million in sales from biocredits created over land at Fernhill to buyers across New South Wales and has also completed significant land sales at the Estate. In 2018, the Homestead Precinct of Fernhill was sold by Angas Securities to the New South Wales Government for $27.25 million, and Eastern Precinct and Mayfair Precinct were also sold.

In December 2021, Angas Securities completed the sale of the final two parcels of land in the Estate’s Western Precinct, bringing to a close a 40-year chapter in Fernhill’s storied history.

However, as this chapter closes, it brings with it a compelling opportunity to secure newly released parcels of biocredits in Western Sydney. The recently sold Western Precinct lots are subject to biobanking agreements worth $12 million, which are divided into two parcels, BA 411 and BA 412.

Access to large parcels of biocredits such as those now on offer at Fernhill is increasingly rare after the scheme was replaced by Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements (BSAs) in 2016. While BSAs and biocredits share many similarities, the former are usually offered in smaller parcels. Importantly, biocredits are still recognised under the new scheme, but have an equivalency formula applied in order for them to be treated in the same manner as BSAs.

UPDATE: 29 January 2022 – Biobanking was established by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) in 2008, enabling landowners to commit to protecting and enhancing biodiversity on their land in return for biocredits that were issued by OEH on behalf of the State Government. These biocredits and the accompanying biodiversity protections could then be sold by the landowners on the open market, often to environmental representatives for infrastructure, land or property developers as a means to offset the environmental impact of projects on non bio-banked land, such as large shopping centres or residential developments.

Access to large parcels of biocredits such as those now on offer at Fernhill is increasingly rare. In 2016, biocredits were replaced by Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements (BSAs) and the management of the scheme was transferred from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to a newly established Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT). Under this arrangement, owners of bio-banked land are also provided with an annual grant from the BCT to undertake maintenance, with the BCT inspecting the site annually to review compliance. Importantly, existing biocredits are still recognised but have an equivalency formula applied in order for them to be treated in the same manner as BSAs.

Sydney-based town planner and Director of Operations at Deep River Group Jack Bulfin said developers of large-scale projects in NSW can benefit from dealing with a vendor like Angas Securities, who holds large parcels of biocredits.

“BSAs are generally offered in smaller parcels of 10 or 20 credits, which are suitable for small and medium developments. However, for a large-scale development that may require hundreds or thousands of credits, a prospective purchaser may need to enter into multiple contracts with different vendors, which leads to substantial fees and contractual complexities,” he said.

“With large parcel holdings like Fernhill Estate, where buyers can access hundreds or thousands of credits in a single transaction, there is a compelling case for developers, particularly those looking to capitalise on the rapid expansion of Western Sydney.”

For more information or to enquire about biocredits on offer by Angas Securities, contact Dan Williams at Regener8 Biodiversity Solutions.