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Landholder fined $15,000 by the Department of Environment and Heritage for clearing cycads

A landholder in Central Queensland was recently fined $15,000 for clearing endangered plants (listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992) without a clearing permit.  The clearing involved the endangered plant Cycas ophiolitica (a cycad), and the landholder was also subject to an enforcement order requiring the planting of 50 new cycads in the same area (for which they incurred substantial costs).

Fines like these can be avoided when clearing vegetation by checking with the responsible state and federal authorities:

  • Department of Natural Resources and Mines – for clearing remnant vegetation under the Vegetation Management Act 1999
  • Department of Environment and Heritage – for clearing of endangered plants within a high risk area under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (which this case relates to)
  • Department of Environment and Heritage – for clearing of animal breeding places
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries – for clearing of marine plants
  • Commonwealth Department of Environment – for clearing matters (flora, fauna, vegetation communities, wetlands) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • The local planning scheme – in relation to vegetation clearing requirements under local government legislation.

Ecosure is able to provide advice, survey, reports, mapping and relevant permits to cover all legislative requirements for clearing vegetation.  The fine in question could have been easily avoided by hiring a qualified botanist to carry out the relevant surveys and obtain clearing permits.

Cycas ophiolitica is a frequent concern for landholders wishing to clear vegetation in coastal central Queensland. Although the plant is endangered, it does occur in large numbers in restricted areas north of Rockhampton and west of Yeppoon.  Ecosure’s botanists have prepared numerous permits and plans for the clearing and translocation of cycads order to meet the  Nature Conservation Act 1992  and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requirements.

Please contact Ecosure Senior Botanist Geoffrey Sinclair on 07 4994 1006 if you require further information about clearing vegetation.


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Some cycads (Cycas ophiolitica), about 400 years old that Ecosure organised to be transplanted for construction of a new road.

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