Queensland vegetation clearing laws were significantly altered under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (VMA) amendments in May 2018, which included the removal of self-assessable codes for thinning remnant/ Category B vegetation.
This also mean that any thinning notifications/permits issued prior to May 2018 are now no longer valid.
Category B/Remnant areas can now only be thinned through a Development Approval process. This is a more involved process than the self-assessable codes, but generally still allow the thinning of vegetation that has thickened and impacting on grazing.
The vegetation thinning process requires:
- An operational works development application under SARA (State assessment and referral agency)
- An application fee of $3,130 (subject to CPI)
- Evidence that the vegetation is thickened, including:
- Aerial photographic history and/or
- On ground tree counts
- Responding to 10 performance outcomes under SDAP State code 16: Native vegetation clearing; including
- Wetlands buffers
- Watercourse buffers
- Mechanical thinning on slopes greater than 5%
- Acid sulphate soils
- Maintaining the floristic composition of the vegetation
- Maps of location and extent of the proposed clearing activities
What should be possible under the code:
- Clearing native plants that are not normally associated with a vegetation community – like black wattle infestations
- Thinning most eucalypt and gidgee communities to an average spacing of 5-7 m.
- Thinning with a dozer on flat areas leaving an average spacing of 5-7 m
What is not possible under the code:
- Thinning vegetation by use of a chain
- Thinning for the sole purpose of grazing, thinning needs to be for the purpose of managing thickened vegetation
- Thinning naturally thick vegetation communities – like many brigalow communities.
Category C and Category R vegetation can still be thinned through self-assessable codes, which allow similar thinning controls, but without a development application and associated application fee. Treating encroachment is also still available under the self-assessable code system.
For further details you can call Paul Humphreys or Geoffrey Sinclair on 4994 1000