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Obtaining approval to clear native vegetation

As a result of the new Planning Act 2016, which commenced on 3 July 2017, there are a number of changes to the vegetation management framework. Changes include:

  • self-assessable vegetation clearing codes are now known as accepted development vegetation clearing codes
  • exemptions are now known as exempt clearing work.

The clearing of native vegetation in Queensland is regulated by both Australian Government legislation – the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), and Queensland legislation – the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Vegetation Management Act 1999, the Planning Act 2016 and the State Policy for Vegetation Management (PDF, 281KB) and other associated policies and codes. Some local governments also regulate clearing of native vegetation.

Australian Government legislation

The EPBC Act is Australian Government’s main environmental legislation, which regulates matters of national environmental significance (e.g. threatened species, ecological communities). You may need to obtain approval under the EPBC Act if your proposed clearing could have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance.

Queensland protected plants legislation

The protected plants legislative framework is administered by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. A clearing permit under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 may be required for clearing protected plants.

Protected plants exemptions

A range of exemptions exists for taking a protected plant in the wild by clearing. For example, where the clearing complies with an accepted development vegetation clearing code for thinning, managing weeds or managing encroachment, the clearing is exempt from requiring an approval under the protected plants legislative framework. Exemptions apply for firebreaks and fire management lines and for clearing to reduce or avoid an imminent risk of serious injury or death to a person or damage to buildings or property.

Queensland vegetation management legislation

Many routine clearing activities can be undertaken as exempt clearing work or by simply notifying the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. Whether you will need a development approval or not depends on the type of vegetation; the land tenure of the land (e.g. freehold or Indigenous land); the location, extent and purpose of the proposed clearing; and who is proposing to do the clearing (e.g. state government body, landholder).

Vegetation mapping

Your first step in determining the Queensland vegetation management requirements that apply to an area is to obtain a regulated vegetation management map. These maps are included in a vegetation management report that you can request for your specific property. The report and maps are free of charge and can be obtained online.

Deciding on the appropriate clearing option

Once you have obtained vegetation information specific to your property, check the options below to see which applies to your proposed clearing activity:

  • Exempt clearing work applies to a range of routine property management activities. These activities were previously known as exemptions and do not require any approval or notifications.
  • Accepted development vegetation clearing codes apply to a range of activities such as fodder harvesting and weed control. When you use an accepted development vegetation clearing code, you must follow the practices listed in the code and notify us before starting to clear.
  • Area management plans can be prepared by groups of landholders or rural organisations and apply to certain clearing activities. If your property is covered by an existing AMP, you can clear under the AMP as long as you notify us before starting to clear and follow the requirements of the AMP.
  • Development approvals may be an option if you cannot conduct clearing under exempt clearing work, an accepted development vegetation clearing code, or an area management plan.

If you have any doubt as to which option applies, contact us to discuss your proposed clearing.

Other relevant legislation

Other legislation may also affect your proposed clearing. Before you clear any vegetation, you should contact the relevant agencies to determine whether your proposed clearing is allowable under other state, local and Australian Government laws.

Activities may include:

Related Links

Contact us

For more information about vegetation management, please contact us.

Licence
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
3 July 2017
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