The Bligh Government, in line with its election promise,
recently introduced The Vegetation Management (Regrowth Clearing
Moratorium) Act 2009 (the Act), which places a moratorium on the
clearing of high value vegetation.
The moratorium is due to end on 7 July 2009 however, there is
provision for it to be extended to allow for further consultation
The moratorium will prevent owners of affected leasehold and
freehold agriculture and grazing land from clearing certain
vegetation unless an approval has been obtained from the Department
of Environment and Resource Management (DERM). The moratorium will
apply generally to areas within 50 metres of an identified
watercourse in the priority wet tropics of the Burdekin and
Mackay/Whitsunday Reef catchment areas as well as rural areas
containing endangered regrowth vegetation.
To identify if your land is affected, maps can be viewed at
website www.derm.qld.gov.au. If your land is not
included on the maps, then clearing of high value regrowth will
require an application to DERM. There is no official form for the
application. Therefore it is recommended that a letter is submitted
which sets out the properties where the clearing will occur,
referenced by a map and possibly an aerial photograph together with
an explanation as to purpose for the clearing.
The application will need to be for a relevant purpose. Some of
the main purposes identified are:
establishing a necessary fence, fire break, road or vehicular
track, or for constructing necessary built infrastructure if there
is no suitable alternative site for the fence, firebreak, road,
truck or infrastructure
controlling non-native plants or declared pests
ensuring public safety
A more comprehensive list can be viewed at the DERM website.
It will also be necessary for the application to address how the
clearing will minimise impacts on key environmental values for the
area. For example, is the area that is subject of the proposed
near a creek or watercourse
in or near a wetland
on steep slopes or unstable soil
in saline or waterlogged areas
where acid sulphate soils may be present (relevant in coastal
If you have lodged a Property Map of Assessable Vegetation
application or a development application prior to 26 March 2009 and
that application contains all relevant information, the application
will be assessed in the usual way. Applications lodged on or after
26 March 2009 that have not been determined as at 8 April 2009 (the
commencement date of the Act), will be subject to the provisions of
PS. Despite the official consultation period on the moratorium
ending on 15th of May, we understand the DERM will still accept
consultation submissions. The DERM does not intend to issue
individual responses to submissions; however, the DERM website will
provide details as to the number of consultation submissions
received and the issues identified in the submissions.
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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