G’day. My name is Jake Maynard and I work in the vegetation management team for the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.
As you may be aware, in Queensland we have a range of accepted development vegetation clearing codes, which can be used by landholders to manage vegetation on their property through a quick, simple and free online notification process.
There’s no application, no assessment and no fees involved. There’s a range of codes from fodder harvesting of Mulga, weed control, right through to clearing for property infrastructure.
There’s been some myths doing the rounds recently that the notification process is long and complicated, but that’s actually not the case. So we’re here today to run you through the process and show you just how quick and simple it really is.
We’ll use fodder harvesting as an example. So let’s find this online notification form you’ll need to fill out to use these codes.
The online notification system can be found on the Queensland Government website. Once you’re on the website – that’s www.qld.gov.au – you can type some keywords in the search box. For example, ‘vegetation clearing notification’.
Click ‘Search’ and you should get an option for accepted development vegetation clearing codes. Click on that, and on this page here you’ll find a link to the online notification system. – just here, the online form.
You’ve also got the option of a hard-copy form, but the online form is a far quicker process. Click on that and we’re in.
So this first stage of the notification process is just about pre-notification advice. It just lists out the key information that you need to speed up the process.
Basically the first piece of information is your lot plan number. This will be available on your rates notice or on your property title or deed. You can then use this to download a vegetation property report from the Queensland Government website.
This report will show you what type of vegetation is mapped on your property. Having this information on hand while you go through the notification process will drastically speed things up.
So once we have that pre-notification information, we can get into it and click ‘Get started’.
So the next step is entering your lot plan information. It’s a pretty simple one. You enter the lot on the left and the plan on the right and then click ‘Verify’. So the system will produce some information about your lot such as the area, the tenure, the local government area it occurs in, the vegetation categories on the lot and the bioregion.
So after having a quick look at your lot plan information, click ‘Next’ and it’ll take you to the next stage of the process. This is a question asking you whether you’re the landholder of the property.
So assuming you are, you can click ‘Yes’ and ‘Next’. Straight into the next step. After confirming that you’re the landholder in the previous step, you'll now be asked to enter relevant information.
Once that’s all entered, hit ‘Next’. The system will then bring you to the next step in the process, which is selecting your vegetation category.
The vegetation categories on your property will be shown on the property report that we recommended downloading before you start the process.
There may be a range of categories on your property. For the notification I’m using, all we’ve got is Category B, so that’s the only one we can select. So we’ll select that one and then move ahead.
The next step is selecting your clearing purpose. The list of clearing purposes you’ll get will depend on which vegetation categories you’ve selected in the previous step.
Each clearing purpose corresponds to a clearing code. So in our example we’re notifying for fodder harvesting, which is authorised under the managing fodder harvesting code.
At this point the system will tell you if you’ve made a previous notification on the same lot plan for the same clearing purpose. This comes into play in the next step as well.
So in the next step it asks us whether we’ve done a self-audit of that previous notification which the system just brought up. If we have done a self-audit, all we need to do is click ‘Yes’ and then ‘Next’.
If we haven’t done a self-audit, we’d have to click ‘No’ and the system wouldn’t let us proceed. So make sure if you have done a previous notification for the same clearing purpose, that you’ve done your self-audit for that, so you can click ‘Yes’.
This next step is about selecting the regional ecosystems you’re proposing to operate in. You’ll have a drop-down list of regional ecosystems, which is generated by what’s mapped on your property. Again, what’s mapped on your property is found in the vegetation property report. Bear in mind that this list that’s provided here removes any regional ecosystems which cannot be cleared, managed or harvested for the clearing purpose you’ve elected to notify under. For example, because we’re notifying for fodder harvesting, endangered regional ecosystems have been removed from this list.
So what we can select from these ones here – let’s select three for example and add them in. And let’s just say we added the last one by mistake – all you need to do is click ‘Remove’ and ‘Done’, then proceed to the next step.
The next step you’ll get asked a couple of questions to ensure you’re able to clear for the purpose you’ve elected. For example, under the fodder code you can’t harvest the same area more than once in any 10-year period. So this screen, because we’re notifying for fodder harvesting, asks you to confirm that you will not be doing so. So let’s click ‘No’ here.
The next step is providing an estimated harvesting area under the notification. If the code has a notification area limit, we can’t put a larger number than that in this field. The fodder harvesting code has a limit of 500 hectares, so let’s put that for now.
Finally, you need to illustrate the location and extent of your proposed clearing area. This is where this online notification system comes in really handy. While you can also attach a scanned hardcopy map showing your proposed clearing area, you now have the option to draw your proposed clearing area on the online mapping tool.
So out of these two options down here, if you click the top one it’ll produce a mapping tool, and highlighted in red is a lot plan that you entered earlier.
First of all, try switching on ‘QLD Imagery’, which will bring up aerials or satellite imagery overlaying the property. This also helps you to identify the vegetation where you proposed your clearing to occur.
So first of all, you’ve got two options to identify your proposed clearing area: there’s a polygon or a rectangle. So a rectangle just has 4 points to play with. A polygon is a bit more pliable, so let’s try that one.
All you do is click wherever you want on the corner, and then click back on the first point to close it off. So in this one you can see that we’ve got a bit of the polygon outside the lot plan and the system will actually pull you up on this.
So it mentions that your proposed clearing area needs to be completely within the lot plan. So to edit it, you click the ‘Edit’ button here and then you can pull these points back inside the lot plan. Then click ‘Save’ and that’s your proposed clearing area. So from this point you can click ‘Next’.
The next step will ask you to acknowledge that you’ve read and are aware of your responsibilities under the code you’re notifying under. It also asks which records you’ve kept as part of this notification process. Make sure you read this page carefully and only click the acknowledgement box if you understand what is required of you.
If you would like further clarification about that, check out the notification user guide or contact the Vegetation Management Hub on 135 VEG – that’s 135 834.
But if you’re all good, you click acknowledge up here and you tick the records that you will have kept after this process.
This next stage is the review stage. It gives you a chance to review all the information you’ve previously entered before submitting your notification. If required, you can easily correct any errors you find which were made throughout the process.
If you’re happy with all the information you’ve entered, go to the bottom and hit ‘Next’.
So here’s what we’ve all been waiting for. By clicking ‘Submit’ here, you’re confirming that all the details you’ve entered are true and correct and that you understand what’s required of you going forward. So all you need to do is click ‘Submit’ up here have a read of these statements here, and then submit your notification.
After clicking submit, you’ll come to a page confirming that you’ve submitted the notification and it will provide you with the reference number. Importantly, you must only consider your notification as 100% complete once you receive a confirmation email as well.
Here’s an example of a confirmation email. It should shoot through quicker than you can make a cup of tea. It’ll confirm for you all the information you entered throughout that notification process and also which clearing purpose and code you’ve notified for.
If you use the online mapping tool to draw your proposed clearing area, this confirmation email will also include a couple of KML file attachments: one called ‘lot plan’, which represents the lot plan you’ve notified for, and another called ‘lodgement’, which shows that proposed clearing area that you drew earlier.
Importantly, once you receive this confirmation email, it means you can go ahead and start operating under the notification; there’s no other authorisations you have to wait for.
Now I’ll show you how to view those KML file attachments in the email confirmation in the Queensland Globe. The Queensland Globe can be found on the Queensland Government website, but the fastest way is probably just to type it in Google.
So here all you need to do is tick the relevant boxes and follow the prompts to get started. Once the Queensland Globe has loaded up, we can simply drag and drop those KML files on top of Queensland. So I’ve saved those files onto my desktop. I’ll just minimise the window and I’ll start with the lot plan.
So we just dragged the lot plan on to Queensland. The globe will think a bit and it’ll show the lot plan over some imagery in an orange-peachy sort of colour. Then grab your other one – the proposed clearing area that you drew earlier – and dump that on top of the lot plan and it will pull up that proposed clearing area.
So bringing up these layers on Queensland Globe isn’t a mandatory step in the notification process, but it can help to make vegetation management decisions on your property because you can manipulate the layers.
You can also bring up relevant vegetation management mapping layers such as the regional ecosystem map or the regulated vegetation management map.
Let’s have a look at how to do this now. So on the left-hand side here, you click on ‘Layers’. Click ‘Add layers’. In the scroll down, find ‘Biota’ in brackets for flora and fauna, and drop that down here. In the drop-down list, find ‘Vegetation management information’. Drop that down. And in that list, you’ll have a heap of mapping layer options.
So the first one we’ll look at is the regulated vegetation management map. You just click that on, and as you can see it’s turned the screen blue, which means the whole area is mapped as Category B, so it’s most likely remnant vegetation. We click that off, and click on the vegetation management regional ecosystem map, it will bring up all the regional ecosystem mapping underneath those relevant layers. You should also click on the regional ecosystem labels layer as well, and it’ll tell us exactly what regional ecosystems are sitting behind those mapping layers.
So if we turn your lot plan and proposed clearing area layers off, we can also get a better view at what’s behind it. For example, up here there’s regional ecosystem 6.7.9 and 6.9.4. Down here there’s 6.7.14 and 6.7.9.
And one final note about Queensland Globe and using these layers: if you use a GPS, depending on the model and its software, you may be able to export these files to the GPS unit to use them on the ground. It can also be done with some smartphones if you have reception on the property.
To find out more about that process, you’ll need to investigate the user guides for your GPS unit or your phone.
So as you can see, the online notification process is really quite quick and simple. It's been designed to ensure that landholders can manage vegetation on their property with minimal administrative burden.
If you’ve got any further questions about the process, contact the Vegetation Management Hub on 135 VEG – that’s 135 834.