Vital Queensland land clearing laws restrengthened at last by Labor

MEDIA RELEASE: May 3, 2018 - Peak group, the Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) has expressed its delight at the strengthening of Queensland’s land clearing laws, and congratulated the Palaszczuk government on the passing of its amendment legislation tonight in state Parliament.

The passing of the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 means:

  • so-called ‘high value agriculture’ is scrapped as a relevant clearing purpose, introduced by the Newman government;
  • high value regrowing woodlands are re-protected with a widened definition of ‘high conservation value’ regrowth after being deregulated by Newman;
  • the self-assessed code for thinning is scrapped, although the Bill does still allow for limited ‘managing thickened vegetation’ under development application processes;
  • Great Barrier Reef riparian protections are extended to all reef catchments; and
  • existing Area Management Plans which have allowed for regional clearing are phased out over two years.

“Today is massive.  Queensland’s land clearing laws have been restrengthened at last”, said Dr Tim Seelig, head of the Queensland Conservation Council.

“The passing of these reforms is a hugely important milestone in the history of Queensland’s land clearing regulation.  Today, our laws have been made better, and the direction of regulation corrected.

“Broadscale remnant clearing for spurious agricultural reasons has rightly been removed.

“High conservation value regenerating woodlands are once again protected, under a better definition. Thinning will now be substantially curtailed. Reef riparian protections are extended.

“We would have liked to have seen the reforms go further in some areas, and we believe there will be more work to do to protect threatened species habitats and other native woodlands.

“But let’s not miss the significance of this moment.  For the last five years, our native woodlands have been exposed to unnecessary and unrestrained land clearing.

“Land clearing in Queensland has spiralled out of control, and has destroyed well over one million hectares of native woodlands, and tens of millions of native animals.

“The weakening of Queensland’s land clearing laws under the Newman government was irresponsible.  It has taken five years to get this fixed, but we congratulate the government on achieving this outcome.

“We wish to thank the efforts of The Premier, Deputy Premier, Natural Resources Minister, Environment Minister, and a number of other Ministers, and backbenchers who have made this moment happen. Queensland’s nature thanks you.”

For further contact:   Queensland Conservation Council Coordinator Dr Tim Seelig on 0439 201 183

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