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Monitoring and compliance of clearing activities

Make sure that you have notified us or received the required permits before you clear. Find out how to obtain approvals to clear native vegetation.

Achieving the right balance between land management and good environmental outcomes is facilitated by effective vegetation management laws.

The clearing of native vegetation in Queensland is primarily regulated by the Vegetation Management Act 1999, the Planning Act 2016, and associated regulations, policies and codes.

Monitoring of clearing activities

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) assesses land clearing and monitors landholder compliance with vegetation management laws using a range of measures, including audits and information provided by members of the community. We also use satellite imagery via the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS) and the Early Detection System (EDS).

By frequently accessing satellite imagery, EDS allows us to respond quickly - addressing potentially unlawful clearing events rapidly and providing landholders with information around their vegetation management requirements.

Read more about SLATS and EDS.

Properties may be audited if, for example, satellite imagery shows changes in the property's vegetation cover or we receive vegetation clearing information, which may come from various sources. We will always work with the landholder to seek their consent and negotiate access to their property.

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

Record keeping and FastTrack5 self-audits

To help ensure that your clearing activities comply with the vegetation management laws, we recommend that you 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.

If you are undertaking a self-audit for a FastTrack5 development approval for managing thickened vegetation, complete the Self-audit sheet – managing thickened vegetation under a FastTrack5 development approval (PDF, 475KB).

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.

Our compliance approach

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

Our compliance and enforcement actions include:

  • 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. This includes our new compliance tool, enforceable undertakings.

Enforceable undertakings

An enforceable undertaking is a voluntary binding agreement between DNRME and a person to address a contravention of the Vegetation Management Act or the Planning Act 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

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.

Complete the Proposal form: Enforceable undertakings: vegetation management (PDF, 747KB).

You can lodge the form and supporting documents in person or by mail to any of our business centres.

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