The Queensland government has introduced legislation
that will significantly change the operation of the Vegetation
Management Act 1999. The Vegetation Management
(Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 will
wind back the relaxations of land clearing restrictions implemented
by the previous government.
Significantly, should the Bill be passed, the amendments are
drafted to take effect from the date the Bill was introduced
– 17 March 2016. Therefore, landowners and developers need to
carefully consider their obligations before undertaking clearing
Only those people who are clearing under development approvals
already granted or development applications or Property Maps of
Assessable Vegetation (PMAVs) applications that are certified,
determined or were properly made before 17 March 2016 will be
unaffected by these amendments.
further regulates tree clearing in a watercourse under a
riverine protection permit through the reinstatement of provisions
in the Water Act 2000; and
reinstates the protection of high-value regrowth on freehold
and indigenous land, which will include the reclassification of
significant areas of existing unregulated category X land to
regulated vegetation as category C or R land.
Category R land includes regrowth vegetation within 50m of a
watercourse in the Burnett-Mary, Eastern Cape York and Fitzroy
Great Barrier Reef catchments.
As a result of the reclassification of unregulated category X to
category C or R, people intending to clear will need to comply with
vegetation clearing code. This code requires you to notify the
Department of Natural Resources and Mines prior to clearing and, if
you don't, you may be required to restore the vegetation.
Significant areas of vegetation currently marked as category X
are proposed to be category C under the amended regulated
vegetation management map. Effectively, the vegetation is currently
category X unless already protected under an existing PMAV but,
when the legislation commences, it will be reallocated as category
C retrospectively from 17 March 2016.
The retrospective nature of the amendments means that landowners
and developers may be committing an offence and may face penalties
in relation to clearing activity undertaken in this interim period.
Landowners should be aware that it will not be a defence to a
charge of unlawful clearing that they were unaware of the Bill.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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