Most people don’t realise that the vegetation on their land may be protected by legislation, and therefore any unauthorized removal of that vegetation could result in significant fines being issued by the State or Commonwealth governments.

Vegetation clearing laws are complex and failure to comply with them can be costly. For example, in March 2017 a Queensland landowner was fined almost $1,000,000 for clearing 350 hectares of native vegetation on his rural property without the requisite approvals.

Most people living in rural areas are broadly aware of their obligations under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld). However, there are a number of additional tree clearing approvals which may be required under Commonwealth, State and local laws which are often overlooked.

The penalties for clearing vegetation without the necessary approvals are not only expensive, but are also issued on a ‘per offence’ basis. A landowner clearing trees from their land without a tree clearing permit could therefore quickly find themselves subject to huge penalties for clearing what might otherwise be a relatively small area of land.

In addition to monetary fines, the government may also require that the vegetation be restored.

The relevant process for lawful clearing of plant and vegetation on a property will depend on which legislative triggers and mapping overlays apply to the property. Importantly, multiple approvals under separate laws may be required for the same proposed clearing.

If you are unsure whether your proposed clearing activities are lawful, please feel free to contact our Commercial & Property team on (07) 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.

Rebecca Rutland
Business & Property