On the 17 March 2016, the government introduced the Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, which is currently being considered through the parliamentary committee process.
One of the amendments proposed by the bill is the reintroduction of high value regrowth on freehold land (Category C), and regrowth vegetation on watercourse areas (Category R) for Great Barrier Reef Catchments.
To see if your property is affected by the proposed regrowth laws, you can obtain a map at the following website: Vegetation map request form.
The proposed laws governing regrowth have not yet passed parliament, and are not likely to be decided until August or later this year. However, these laws are proposed to be retrospective and if approved in their submitted form will apply to any clearing, or applications for clearing, that occur after the 17 March 2016.
It is therefore important that before you do any clearing of vegetation, you check to see if your property is affected by the proposed regrowth laws.
Clearing of proposed regrowth prior to 17 March 2016
There is no requirement for clearing of proposed regrowth areas that occurred prior to 17 March 2016.
Clearing of proposed regrowth after 17 March 2016
Any clearing of proposed regrowth from 17 March 2016 should:
- be subject to a clearing exemption, or
- meet the self-assessable code for management Category C regrowth (for Category C areas),
- meet the self-assessable code for management Category R regrowth (for Category R areas).
You are required to notify the Department of Natural Resources and Mines if clearing under a self-assessable code. The department has an automated notification process that you can use, however this system may not work for some tenures and you will need to contact the Department directly if this is the case.
Errors in the proposed regrowth areas
The proposed regrowth areas were not ground checked and were derived from a satellite image analysis, where basically all areas that had not been cleared in the last 20 years and contained vegetation were mapped as regrowth areas.
This approach has resulted in many errors in identifying regrowth areas, in particular it includes many areas of thick grass or orchards that have not been cleared in the past 20 years.
These errors can be fixed using the department’s PMAV process, which is a fairly simply process if the area is devoid of trees or is an orchard. There may be potential for the department to accept these PMAV applications without a fee.
It should also be noted that the proposed regrowth areas are probably going to be further refined before they are finalised, so some of the errors may be fixed automatically.
Cleared regrowth vegetation after 17 March 2016
If the vegetation reinstatement bill is not passed, then nothing will happen.
If the vegetation reinstatement bill is passed, then you may be required to restore the area (as in allow to regrow or plant), and potentially add additional areas.
(application to change the vegetation)
PMAV applications that were submitted prior to the 17 March 2016 will be assessed under normal processes.
PMAV applications that were submitted after 17 March 2016 and do not contain any proposed regrowth vegetation will also be assessed under normal processes.
For PMAV applications that were submitted after the 17 March and which do contain proposed regrowth vegetation, the department has indicated that they will discuss the issue with the applicant. In general:
- the department is likely to assess PMAV applications in which all the proposed regrowth on the lot is mapped incorrectly.
- if parts of the lot are regrowth, it is likely that the department will have to delay processing the PMAV until the laws have been finalised, or come to another agreement with the applicant.
For more information contact
Ecosure’s Senior Flora Ecologist,
Geoffrey Sinclair 07 4994 1000.