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Important changes to vegetation mapping in Queensland – Environmental Law



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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 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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