Clearing Your Property of Weeds (aka “Native Vegetation”)
Changes to Vegetation Management Laws


The Palaszczuk Labor Government has introduced a suite of changes to Queensland’s vegetation management laws, making it more difficult to obtain clearing permits for certain properties.

If you own or are planning to purchase rural property, you should be aware that the Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Qld) (“the Amendment Act”) has made the following changes:

  1. Clearing permits will not be available for high value agriculture and high value irrigated agriculture. Accordingly, owners of rural property can no longer clear native vegetation for the purposes of cropping or irrigation.
  2. Clearing permits will no longer be granted in areas mapped as Category C (having High Value Regrowth Vegetation) or Category R (having regrowth vegetation within 50 meters of a watercourse).
  3. The protections under Category R have been extended to cover all Great Barrier Reef catchment areas such that clearing of native vegetation within 50 meters of a watercourse in these areas is now prohibited;
  4. The land mapping has been amended such that some areas (previously categorised as Category X and not subject to the restrictions under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld)) are now categorised as Category C and/or Category R areas. These amendments may affect freehold land.
  5. Landholders must now obtain certain permits before carrying out clearing works in watercourses.

These new vegetation management laws, which came into effect in May 2018, reflect the State Government’s efforts to reduce Queensland’s “rate of land clearing, lower carbon emissions and better safeguard the health of the Great Barrier Reef”, (see here for more information).

Importantly, landowners can still carry out clearing activities which are necessary for farm operations and property management, including but not limited to:

  • harvest fodder for stock in drought;
  • prepare for or recover from natural disasters;
  • manage encroachment;
  • establish property infrastructure; and
  • control weeds.

If you are concerned that your property (or a property which you intend to purchase) may be impacted by these new laws, please contact our Business & Property Law team on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form should you have any queries.