Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments (IBSA)

Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Index of Biodiversity Surveys for Assessments (IBSA). These should be read in conjunction with the IBSA information page on the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) website, and the IBSA instructions and templates available on the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) website.

IBSA requirements

If you are submitting a biodiversity survey report to DWER, the EPA or the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), to support an assessment, post-assessment or compliance process under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, it will need to be accompanied by an IBSA data package which has been prepared according to the IBSA instructions and templates.

Any time a biodiversity survey report is submitted to DWER, the EPA or DMIRS for assessment, post-assessment or compliance purposes, it must be accompanied by an IBSA data package. Where there is no requirement for a biodiversity survey report to be submitted, there is no requirement for an IBSA data package.

Approvals under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 often require the periodic submission of reports to demonstrate compliance with conditions of approval, such as Compliance Assessment Reports and Annual Environmental Reports. These reports are not biodiversity survey reports, so do not require IBSA data packages – though if a biodiversity survey report was supplied to support one of these compliance reports, it would need to be accompanied by an IBSA data package.

If conditions of approval require a post-assessment biodiversity survey or ongoing biodiversity monitoring, and submission of the resulting biodiversity survey reports to DWER, the EPA or DMIRS, then IBSA data packages must accompany these biodiversity survey reports. In cases where submission of such reports is not a requirement of approval conditions, the submission of IBSA data packages is encouraged but is not mandatory.

No. The intellectual property owner decides whether the IBSA data package submitted to support an assessment or compliance process will be made public. If a licence to publish is not granted, then the IBSA data package will be archived at DWER but not made public. For more information refer to the IBSA instructions and templates and the explanatory notes in the IBSA metadata and licensing statement.

Note that survey reports may still be made publicly available, outside of IBSA, because of the assessment process itself (e.g. to support public comment).

Only once the receiving agency has made and published its final decision or recommendation on the assessment, review or compliance process will IBSA make the relevant data packages publicly available (in accordance with the terms of any licence that has been granted by the intellectual property owner). Until then, the data packages remain in a quarantine environment at DWER. This means that during the assessment or compliance process, via the relevant assessment officer, the submitter can provide corrected or updated data packages if there is a need to do so.

No. IBSA is not a relational database, and species records are not linked to any external datasets that will result in updates to the data housed in IBSA. If species names or other attributes change during an assessment or compliance process, resulting in a revised biodiversity survey report being submitted to the receiving agency, a similarly revised IBSA data package should also be submitted.

Proponents and applicants upload IBSA data packages directly to the IBSA Submissions online portal at

Once a complete IBSA data package has been uploaded, the submitter will receive a receipt number. Where the IBSA data package is incomplete, i.e. it does not include the information marked as required, the proponent/applicant will not be able to submit it. IBSA data packages with incomplete fields will need to be resubmitted once they have been revised.

The IBSA team will review the submitted IBSA data package in accordance with the IBSA instructions and templates. The submitter will be supplied with an IBSA number if the IBSA data package is in accordance with the above, otherwise they will be notified of the changes required.

Yes. IBSA data packages do not feed into DBCA processes. Any requirements for the supply of survey reports and data to DBCA, for example where the conditions of a collecting licence require DBCA to be informed of significant species observations, still apply. They must be adhered to regardless of whether or not an IBSA data package has been submitted.

Yes. The goal of IBSA is to share publicly biodiversity survey data collected to support environmental assessments, which may include significant species location information. DBCA has endorsed the operation of the system, whilst retaining its ability to advise DWER of data that represents sensitive information required to be withheld for biodiversity conservation reasons.

Proponents and environmental practitioners submitting IBSA data packages should include all species records, including those for significant species. As required during the review and quarantine period for each data package, DWER will consult with DBCA regarding the need to withhold any significant species information. If necessary DWER will remove such information prior to data packages being made publicly available on the IBSA website.

No. SLIP and contain curated, general-purpose datasets. Reports and datasets in IBSA are not curated, and were prepared for supporting specific assessments. The collation of this material in IBSA, for use beyond these specific assessments, is done voluntarily as a public service as per the IBSA disclaimer.

At this stage, it is outside of IBSA’s scope to publish reports and datasets from surveys that were not conducted to support DWER, EPA and DMIRS assessment and compliance processes under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. If you have a significant quantity of such information, please contact to discuss what options may exist.

Using the IBSA website

Go to the main IBSA information page oon the DWER website and click on the link to the IBSA website. Browse the surveys or use the filters on the left, including the geographic filter, to find the surveys you are looking for. Note that the individual surveys displayed in the map, list and tile views, to the right of the filter panel, will be constrained by the number you have set to display per page (20, 50, 100 or 500).

Click on a survey title to go to the page for that survey. There you can view basic details of the survey under the ‘About’ tab, and see the metadata and licencing statement and any available reports and data files under the ‘Resources’ tab. Survey reports and data files will only be present if the intellectual property owner has licensed them for publication via the metadata and licencing statement.

Review Sections 3 and 4 of the metadata and licencing statement, under the ‘Resources’ tab for the relevant survey in IBSA, by downloading it or using the online document preview feature. These sections show what type of licensing has been allowed by the intellectual property owner; users of IBSA must adhere to the terms of these licences, as well as the general terms detailed in the IBSA disclaimer. If you download survey reports or data files from IBSA, you should also download the relevant Metadata and Licensing Statement and retain it alongside the downloaded information.

No. This Project Area boundary is approximate, and is simply intended to facilitate geographic searching in IBSA and give a general overview of the area covered by a biodiversity survey report. If it is important that you know the exact boundaries of a survey, you should examine the survey details spatial dataset provided under the ‘Resources’ tab (if available).

No. Individual survey pages in IBSA currently contain some elements that are present because they are part of the functionality of the underlying web platform but are not in use by IBSA itself. This includes the ‘Blog’ tab and the ‘You can participate in this project in’, ‘UN Regions’ and ‘Project originally registered in’ fields under the ‘About’ tab. These will be removed when time and resources permit.