Mapping changes to protected plants
A number of councils have raised concerns regarding the impacts on landholders as a result of mapping changes to protected plants. The below may help to assist councils handling queries in relation to this issue:
In Queensland, all plants that are native to Australia are referred to as “protected plants” under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, and clearing of protected plants in Queensland is regulated primarily by the Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006. The purpose of the protected plants framework is to protect endangered, vulnerable and near threatened plants.
- Protected plant requirements apply irrespective of how vegetation is classified under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
- Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (the Act) it is an offence to clear protected plants that are ‘in the wild’ unless you are authorised or the clearing is exempt (section 89 of the Act).
- The ‘flora survey trigger map for clearing protected plants in Queensland’ (flora survey trigger map) identifies ‘high-risk areas’ where endangered, vulnerable or near threatened plants are present or are likely to be present.
- Version 7 of the flora survey trigger mapping was released on 31 May 2019. This version removed a lot of areas that were ‘highly modified land’ to reduce confusion about the map. Following the version 7 release, the Department of Environment and Science became aware that more areas should also be removed as some of the remaining areas were causing confusion.
- On 26 June, Version 7.1 was released which has removed further areas, now restricting the map to ‘natural areas’ e.g. areas mapped as remnant vegetation, regrowth vegetation, wetlands, and category ‘A’ areas under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (e.g. an offset area or areas subject to a restoration notice).
- The Queensland Herbarium bases the trigger mapping off the most up to date information available to the department, and provides advice, at least annually, to the chief executive about which areas should be included as high risk areas on the trigger map. There has been some misinformation regarding trigger mapping. Further information on how the framework applies in different circumstances is available online.
- It should be noted that existing operational activities such as grazing are not impacted by the framework. However, if you wish to clear vegetation as a part of existing operational activities, refer to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
For further information, please contact Kristy Gooding, Lead – Natural Assets and NRM 1300 542 700.
Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006
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