Clearing for bushfire management

Roadside vegetation management

In Queensland:

  • local government are the local road managers
  • the Department of Transport and Main Roads are the state road managers, as they administer the state-controlled road network.

Vegetation management within the road corridor, such as removal of vegetation for road infrastructure, or fire hazard reduction activities, are all undertaken by the road managers themselves or contracted to other parties.

Road infrastructure

Road Infrastructure clearing includes:

  • the removal of vegetation to access road base materials to source construction materials
  • clearing necessary to undertake new road development.

Clearing carried out by the road managers to construct and maintain road infrastructure (other than fences), is exempt and does not require an approval (as per the Planning Regulation 2017).

The road manager may need to lodge a separate application under other jurisdictions that apply. For example:

  • to clear protected plants under the Nature Conservation Act 1992
  • impacts to matters of national environmental significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • vegetation protection orders under local law
  • cultural heritage duty of care under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003.

Fence lines

Unlike other road infrastructure, clearing to maintain a fence line on the road corridor is restricted to 3 metres. While no approval is needed for the clearing, a landholder with a shared boundary fence must seek the approval from the relevant road manager before clearing within the road corridor. Additional clearing may be possible under an accepted development vegetation clearing code or a development approval.

Clearing to maintain a boundary fence can also be done on the adjoining private property. A landholder on adjoining land may clear vegetation up to 10 metres in width within their property to maintain a fence line, without an approval (as per schedule 21 of the Planning Regulation 2017).

Emergency clearing

Where there is approaching danger such as bushfire, it may become necessary to clear vegetation within the road corridor. Under the essential management provisions within schedule 21 of the Planning Regulation 2017, a landholder may clear vegetation necessary to reduce or remove the imminent risk that vegetation poses of serious personal injury or damage to infrastructure.

Where a disaster declaration is made under the Disaster Management Act 2003 for an area, clearing vegetation does not require approval under schedule 21 part 5(15) of the Planning Regulation 2017, if the clearing is necessary to prevent or minimise either:

  • loss of human life, or illness or injury to humans
  • property loss or damage
  • damage to the environment.
  • and

  • the clearing happens no later than 1 year after the day on which the disaster situation declaration was made, or on another day decided by notice.

Section 53(j) of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 allows an authorised fire officer to direct any person in a dangerous situation to take reasonable measures to deal with the danger. Any clearing within the road reserve done under the direction of an authorised fire officer does not require an approval under the Planning Regulation 2017.

Bushfire clearing

The Planning Regulation 2017 allows for a range of activities undertaken to deal with the threat or aftermath of a bushfire.

Clearing for bushfire hazard in the road corridor aims to:

  • prevent fire igniting on the road reserve
  • contain roadside fires from spreading
  • manage safety of road users
  • encourage recovery from roadside fires.

Road managers routinely meet with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service to discuss clearing actions necessary for the expected upcoming bushfire season. Local bushfire mitigation work is then arranged as necessary.

Hazard reduction burns

A landholder may undertake hazard reduction burns, without a permit as per schedule 21 of the Planning Regulation 2017, so long as a permit to burn is obtained from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service.

Hazard reduction burns can be undertaken following approval from the road manager (for a state-controlled road this approval needs to come through the TMR Road Corridor Permit (RCP)), in conjunction with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

Fire breaks

Firebreaks are low-fuel areas located immediately adjacent to existing infrastructure that are cleared and maintained to slow or stop the progress of a fire, or to perform back-burning.

An adjacent landholder may clear vegetation to maintain a necessary firebreak inside the road corridor, with authorisation from the road manager (state-controlled roads will require a TMR RCP) as per schedule 21 part 5(h) of the Planning Regulation 2017.

Access to land

Landholders may clear vegetation for access to their adjoining land from the formed road to a maximum width of 10 metres without an approval as per schedule 21 part 5(e) of the Planning Regulation 2017. However, the landholder must have owner's consent for any clearing if the landholder is a lessee and seek approval from the relevant responsible road manager before clearing commences. Where the access is to a state-controlled road, the adjoining landholder will need to acquire a TMR Road Corridor Permit (RCP).

Please contact your local council for further information on providing access to your property.

Weeds and biosecurity

A road manager may remove any weeds and hazardous vegetation (under the Biosecurity Act 2014) from the road corridor without a permit as per schedule 21 part 5(b) of the Planning Regulation 2017.

Further information

In this guide:

  1. Exempt clearing work for bushfire management
  2. Using a clearing code for fire management
  3. Development approvals for bushfire management clearing
  4. Bushfire management plans and other considerations
  5. Other laws and permits for bushfire management
  6. Clearing during bushfire emergencies
  7. Cleaning-up after a bushfire
  8. Roadside vegetation management

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