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Understanding Queensland's native vegetation clearing laws

How we monitor clearing and ensure people comply with the laws

The Department of Resources monitors landholder compliance with the vegetation management framework using a range of measures including satellite imagery, audits and information provided by members of the community.

Satellite imagery

We use satellite imagery via the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) and the Early Detection System (EDS) to identify changes in vegetation cover.

This allows us to proactively respond to address potentially unlawful clearing events and provide landholders with information around their vegetation management requirements.

Read more about SLATS and EDS.

Audits

We periodically undertake audits to promote compliance. We will always work with the landholder to seek their consent and negotiate access to their property if an on-site audit is proposed. Properties may be audited if, for example:

  • landholders have cleared under an accepted development vegetation clearing code
  • satellite imagery shows changes in the property's vegetation cover
  • we receive vegetation clearing information, which may come from various sources.

Clearing that is unexplained may be further investigated by authorised officers, and may result in a compliance or enforcement action.

Record keeping and self-audits

To help ensure that your clearing activities comply with the vegetation management laws, you should always keep a record of any clearing activity on your property.

This could include a diary note of clearing operations, and, where relevant, completed self-assessment sheets, supported by before-and-after photographs from recorded locations, which clearly illustrate what has been cleared and when this was done. You should also document your instructions to operators and supervise any clearing activity undertaken by contractors.

Our compliance approach

Our compliance approach for natural resources seeks to support communities and industries, while also helping protect our environment.

We do this through:

  • stakeholder engagement (including community, industry, landholders, interest groups)
  • education
  • investigations
  • enforcement actions
  • targeted compliance campaigns.

We are continually strengthening and enhancing our compliance approach to help landholders comply with the vegetation management laws.

Penalties for unlawful clearing

We may issue fines for unlawful clearing of native vegetation and/or require that the vegetation in those areas be restored. We may also investigate and prosecute more serious vegetation clearing offences and seek restoration of the vegetation in those areas. The court may also require offenders to pay court costs for both parties, where appropriate.

In some cases, an enforceable undertaking may be entered into as an alternative to prosecution or as a tool to require remedial action.

Enforceable undertakings

An enforceable undertaking is a voluntary binding agreement between the Department of Resources and a person to address a contravention of the Vegetation Management Act 1999 or the Planning Act 2016 relating to clearing of vegetation.

Although an enforceable undertaking is not an admission of guilt, it does commit the person to deliver on agreed environmental outcomes.

An enforceable undertaking is designed to secure timely and effective penalties and remedies in a non-adversarial way, providing constructive solutions with environmental benefits.

We will only accept an enforceable undertaking where we consider that the undertaking will:

  • secure compliance with the Vegetation Management Act or the Planning Act
    or
  • advance the purpose of the Vegetation Management Act.

Accepted enforceable undertakings will be added to a register and published on this page.

How to make a proposal

  1. Read the Guideline for enforceable undertakings: vegetation management (PDF, 480KB) for more information on the process, key considerations, and circumstances when an enforceable undertaking may be an appropriate compliance response to address the contravention.
  2. Complete the Proposal form: Enforceable undertakings: vegetation management (PDF, 747KB).
  3. Lodge the form and supporting documents in person or by mail to any of our business centres.

Related links

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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