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News

New Vegetation Management Laws

cattle in the field

In an effort to protect high conservation value regrowth and improve habitat and environmental protection, the Queensland Parliament will reinstate vegetation management controls which were rescinded in 2013. The changes are effective from 8 March 2018 and have resulted in significant impacts to landowners as a result of changes to previously unregulated vegetation being reclassified.

If you had an existing certified PMAV prior to 8 March 2018 your certified PMAV will not be affected by the new laws.

What does this mean for you?

  • There may be additional restrictions placed on your property, requiring you to seek approval prior to clearing or development, particularly around regular and irregular watercourses.
  • This may impact the usability of your land, reduce capacity for certain activities, or affect the value of your land.
  • If you lodged a properly made development application or were granted approval to an existing development before 8 March 2018, you can continue to clear under the conditions of this approval. However, development applications submitted after this date will be subject to the new classifications.
  • If you have an accepted development vegetation clearing code for the purpose of thinning out or harvesting fodder for stock in drought and Category C (High-value regrowth), you must re-notify as these are now invalid. Any proposed clearing must now be consistent with the new category requirements.  You may be required to submit a development application.
  • Under the new legislation, high-value agriculture clearing and irrigated high-value agriculture clearing will no longer be considered relevant purposes for a vegetation clearing application. New development applications lodged after 8 March 2018 for such purposes may not be accepted.
  • The new laws should not prevent you from conducting necessary clearing to farm operations in regards to preparation for or recovery from natural disasters, managing encroachment, establishing property infrastructure or controlling weeds.

Where do I get a vegetation map for my property?

  • Free vegetation maps and property reports can be requested through the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to check the impact of the new laws on your property.
  • We are happy to assist you if you need help to obtain a map for your property.

What do I do if I disagree with the new vegetation boundaries or categories of vegetation?

  • As a landowner, you can apply to have your property map of assessable vegetation (PMAV) amended through the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and, if successfully certified, it will replace the regulated vegetation map.
  • The current application fee is $434 (excluding GST)
  • In order to lodge an application you must be able to :
    • Provide a proposed vegetation map for your property
    • Detail the amendments to the vegetation boundaries and categories that you are seeking
    • Provide supporting documentation that demonstrates the accuracy of those amendments and the basis for the changes to the vegetation boundaries.
  • If you cannot demonstrate a sound basis for a change to the vegetation boundaries you may not be successful with an application.
  • To help you with this process you can obtain specialist assistance from an experienced Natural Resource Management Consultant or an Environmental Resource Management Consultant. A Consultant is not an officer of the Department of Natural Resources.
  • A Natural Resource Management Consultant can assist you in a variety of ways, including: –
    • Providing you with specialist advice regarding your prospects of successfully obtaining a change to the vegetation boundaries on your property
    • Preparing application documents and a proposed vegetation map
    • Preparing submissions and put together supporting evidence.
  • Regulated vegetation management maps are updated monthly to accommodate certified PMAVs.

My property is not affected so what should I worry?

  • The uncertainty arising from the impact of the legislative change to vegetation mapping over the past decade should serve as a warning to any landowner without a certified PMAV or AMP.

“If you do not have an existing PMAV, but have been unaffected by these recent changes, you should immediately act to obtain a certified PMAV so that you can secure your rights as a landowner in the future”

Where can I find more information?

Hede Byrne & Hall Lawyers are available to assist you and you can contact us to find out more information on options which might be available to you.