The Queensland Government has made important changes to vegetation mapping to include the most recent Queensland Herbarium scientific updates. This may affect your ability to clear vegetation.
Vegetation management framework and legislation
Whenever contemplating clearing of vegetation, it is important to understand Queensland's vegetation management framework. This framework is primarily regulated under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (VMA).
The VMA regulates the clearing of native vegetation and is administered by the Queensland Department of Resources. It applies to all land tenures, including freehold, leasehold and unallocated State land.
The vegetation management framework is underpinned by a series of maps that identify vegetation categories and the boundaries for these categories on an individual property.
Classification of vegetation under the Vegetation Management Act
The VMA classifies vegetation into the following categories:
- Category A - a declared area, an offset or exchange area; or has been illegally cleared; or is subject to a restoration notice or enforcement notice conditioning restoration of vegetation; or has been declared Category A under the VMA; or is Category A by agreement
- Category B - contains remnant vegetation; or is shown on the regulated vegetation management map as a Category B area; or where not Category C and is a Land Act tenure to be converted under the Land Act 1994 to another form of tenure and contains an endangered regional ecosystem, an 'of concern' regional ecosystem or a 'least concern' regional ecosystem
- Category C - contains high value regrowth vegetation; or is shown on the regulated vegetation management map as a Category C area
- Category R - shown on the regulated vegetation management map as a Category R area that is a regrowth watercourse and drainage feature area
- Category X - shown on the regulated vegetation management map as a Category X area.
From the above descriptions, it is clear just how important the vegetation mapping undertaken by the Queensland Government is for making informed vegetation management decisions.
New vegetation maps released by Queensland Government
New maps were released on 8 September 2022, which include updates to regulated vegetation management maps, regional ecosystems, wetlands, high-value regrowth and essential habitat. The announcement states the key changes include updates to:
- Category C areas (high value regrowth) largely due to more detailed mapping being undertaken in the Great Barrier Reef catchments
- essential habitat mapping to incorporate newly listed protected species and updated species modelling.
However, the changes do not affect areas shown as Category X on a property map of assessable vegetation.
Accessing your free vegetation management report
Before undertaking any clearing of native vegetation, you must know the vegetation category to help you identify the type of vegetation on your property, the requirements of vegetation clearing and other laws that may potentially apply.
You can request a free vegetation management report, which includes property information and maps, here.
Contact Leanne O'Neill of Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers to understand your vegetation management report and the requirements applying to any proposed native vegetation clearing.
Cooper Grace Ward is a leading Australian law firm based in Brisbane.
This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please contact Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.