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Understanding Queensland's native vegetation clearing laws

About vegetation clearing

We regulate the clearing of native vegetation to:

  • conserve remnant vegetation
  • conserve vegetation in declared areas
  • ensure that clearing does not cause land degradation
  • prevent the loss of biodiversity
  • maintain ecological processes
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • allow for sustainable land use.

Under the vegetation management framework, 'clearing' and 'vegetation' have the following meanings:

Clearing

Clearing includes:

  • removing
  • cutting down
  • ringbarking
  • pushing over
  • poisoning
  • destroying vegetation in any way, including by burning, flooding or draining.

Clearing does not include destroying standing vegetation by stock, or lopping a tree.

Note: Lopping a tree means cutting or pruning its branches, but does not include removing its trunk; or cutting or pruning its branches so severely that it is likely to die.

Vegetation

Vegetation is a native tree or plant other than:

  • grass or non-woody herbage
  • a plant within a grassland regional ecosystem prescribed under Schedule 5 of the Vegetation Management Regulation 2012
  • a mangrove.

Learn how to determine what a native plant is (PDF, 457KB) for the purpose of the vegetation management framework.

The Department of Resources maintains up-to-date vegetation maps showing the extent and condition of vegetation across Queensland.

How we regulate clearing

The vegetation management framework consists of the Vegetation Management Act 1999, the Planning Act 2016, and the associated regulations, policies and codes, including the State Policy for Vegetation Management (PDF, 281KB).

The framework allows the clearing of remnant vegetation and regulated regrowth vegetation where clearing is:

  • for low-risk, exempt purposes
  • done under accepted development vegetation clearing codes
  • for relevant purposes listed in the Vegetation Management Act 1999.

To ensure the framework is followed, we:

  • conduct relevant purpose determinations to verify that applications to clear native vegetation are for allowable purposes
  • manage development approvals to
    • ensure clearing for purposes intended to restore or retain vegetation will provide for the reinstatement of vegetation the pre-clear condition
    • ensure clearing for purposes intended to permanently remove vegetation considers the hierarchy to avoid and minimise the proposed clearing area
    • assess offset arrangements where impacts cannot be avoided.
  • undertake monitoring, compliance and enforcement actions.

In this guide:

  1. About vegetation clearing
  2. Requirements for clearing vegetation
  3. How we monitor clearing and ensure people comply with the laws
  4. What other laws apply to clearing

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