Queensland continues to see large amounts of vegetation clearing since changes were made to the Vegetation Management Act 1999 by the former Government. Under these changes, farmers are currently allowed to clear native vegetation to allows for high-value agriculture projects and also self-assess and manage the clearing on their property if located in certain areas.
The recent release of the Statewide Landcover and Trees Study found that in 2014-15, 296 000 hectares of vegetation was cleared in the State, a figure that has remained stable since the changes implemented by the former Government. Prior to these changes, land clearing rates were just over a half of where they currently are. The relaxation of rules governing native vegetation land clearing has contributed to the release of stored carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and is likely to reduce the adaptability of the State to climate change by enhancing their vulnerability to extreme events such as floods and drought.
The current State Government has stated that the new proposed changes to the Act will bolster the natural protections for the Great Barrier Reef by reducing sediment runoffs and poor water quality, which are consequences of poorly-regulated clearing in the Reef’s catchment area. Additionally it will protect native vegetation and wildlife and retain carbon sinks offered by the state’s vegetation.
The Queensland Government’s ability to complete these reforms will require negotiations with some of the state’s independent politicians.
See further information here.
Kingfisher Law are Australia's agribusiness legal specialists and will discuss any legal issue you may be experiencing, in a confidential and professional manner. Call 1300 529 424 to book a consultation.