Are you clearing Category X vegetation without a development approval in Queensland? STOP NOW!

Cooper Grace Ward


Established in 1980, Cooper Grace Ward is a leading independent law firm in Brisbane with over 20 partners and 200 team members. They offer a wide range of commercial legal services with a focus on corporate, commercial, property, litigation, insurance, tax, and family law. Their specialized team works across various industries, providing exceptional client service and fostering a strong team culture.
You must first determine whether a development approval is required under the relevant local government planning scheme.
Australia Real Estate and Construction
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In an extraordinary decision with wide-ranging impacts, the Planning and Environment Court has determined that a development approval may be required to clear Category X land, notwithstanding that it is 'exempt clearing work' under the Planning Regulation 2017 (Regulation).

Contrary to the widely held view that Category X land can be cleared as of right under both the Vegetation Management Act 2009 and the Planning Act 2016 (Planning Act), the Court found that a local government planning scheme can make the clearing assessable development, despite the Regulation providing that exempt clearing work is not assessable development.

In practice, this means that clearing Category X land for any purpose will require a development approval, unless it is specifically excluded from assessment requirements for vegetation clearing under a planning scheme. Further, none of the 'Accepted Development Clearing Codes', which allow as of right clearing for particular uses (such as agriculture and extractive industry), apply to Category X land.

If you intend to clear Category X land, you must determine whether a development approval is required under the relevant local government planning scheme. Clearing without an approval is an offence under the Planning Act, with a maximum penalty of $567,675.

© Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers

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.

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