01 December, 2013

Vegetation Management in Qld

A number of changes have occurred to Queensland’s vegetation management laws. These include:
  • the creation of self-assessable clearing codes for certain clearing activities
  • the removal of high-value regrowth regulations from freehold and Indigenous land
  • new clearing purposes for high-value agriculture, irrigated high value agriculture, and environmental clearing
  • simplified mapping
  • compliance and enforcement amendments.
Vegetation mapping has also been simplified through the creation of a state-wide regulated vegetation ‘base’ map, which clearly shows the areas of vegetation on their property that are assessable and non-assessable under the new vegetation laws.

There are other minor amendments that have been undertaken to streamline the vegetation management framework.
Several new exemptions are being introduced, while some exemptions are being broadened, or being made more consistent across different land tenures. New exemptions are being provided for the following:
  • community infrastructure as defined under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
  • geotechnical works and land survey works. Geotechnical works can often be a requirement in the off-lease area of resources developments
  • natural disaster events to allow clearing in response to events such as cyclones and floods, to protect human life and prevent injury, and to minimise damage to property and the environment.
The Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Act 2013 does not actually contain details of these reforms. They will require amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009, which will occur through a separate process.
Vegetation management reforms will come into effect on 2 December 2013.

The Qld Government has also established a Protected Plants Legislation Review.

They are reviewing the legislation that manages the harvesting and clearing of Queensland’s native plants under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is inviting submissions for the final round of consultation for the protected plants legislative review.

The first stage of the review was completed with the Nature Conservation (Protected Plants) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 being passed on 16 October 2013; creating the legislative framework in the Nature Conservation Act 1992 that will now guide the clearing, harvest and trade of protected native plants in Queensland. The amendments to the Nature Conservation Act require supporting regulations and statutory instruments such as a code of practice for the taking and using of protected plants. These regulatory amendments and new statutory instruments have now been drafted for public comment.
Should you wish to comment on these amendments and the associated reforms, a copy of the amendments and the associated reforms can be obtained from the department’s website www.ehp.qld.gov.au or by emailing plants.policy@ehp.qld.gov.auSubmissions due by 9am, 16 December 2013.

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