19 Jun 2009

Vegetation Moratorium Extended and Great Barrier Reef Protection Bill introduced

Vegetation Regrowth Clearing Moratorium extended to 7 October 2009

On 8 April 2009 the Queensland Government announced a moratorium on the clearing of one million hectares of regrowth vegetation in the State. That moratorium has been extended by a further three months to 7 October 2009. The moratorium area is:

  • an area shown on a moratorium map as a moratorium regrowth vegetation area; or
  • an area of regrowth vegetation within 50m of a watercourse identified on a moratorium map as a moratorium watercourse.

The moratorium takes effect whilst the Government consults with stakeholders on vegetation clearing laws in Queensland, and is also directed at addressing the clearing impacting on the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef protection

The Great Barrier Reef Protection Amendment Bill 2009 (Qld) was introduced to Queensland Parliament on 4 June 2009. The Bill proposes to introduce the concept of an "agricultural environmentally relevant activity (ERA)" and proposes to:

  • regulate the amount of fertilisers and pesticides to be used by sugar cane farmers and large-scale graziers in Mackay-Whitsunday, the Burdekin Dry Tropics and the Far North’s Wet Tropics;
  • require "high risk" farms to keep Environmental Risk Management Plans.

Significantly the Bill does not classify an "agricultural ERA" as a Material Change of Use under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 (Qld) and therefore does not trigger the requirement for a development approval for these activities.

If passed, the Bill is expected to take effect from 1 January 2010.

Regulatory Impact Statement for fees and charges for vegetation management

The Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)—Restructuring regulatory fees and charges for vegetation management-related services has been released for consultation. The closing date for comments on the Regulatory Impact Statement is 13 July 2009 to:

Director, Vegetation Management and Land Planning
Department of Environment and Resource Management
GPO Box 2454
Brisbane Qld 4001
Fax: 07 3224 7859
Email: VMEnquiries@derm.qld.gov.au

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.