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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Regrowth legislation takes balanced approach

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Tuesday, October 06, 2009

    Regrowth legislation takes balanced approach

    Queensland’s new regrowth vegetation protection laws strike the right balance by protecting vital regrowth vegetation and its high biodiversity values, while allowing farmers to continue to manage their properties responsibly.

    Premier Anna Bligh and Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson said prior to the moratorium on clearing endangered regrowth, less than 240,000 hectares of regrowth vegetation were subject to regulations controlling clearing.

    “This government delivers on our commitments and this legislation strikes a balance between the needs of landholders and the environment,” Ms Bligh said.

    “The new laws, introduced to Parliament today, will take effect from October 8 and will see an additional one million hectares protected.”

    Key elements of the new arrangements will include:

    • Protection of an additional one million hectares of land and a total of 2.3 million hectares subject to minimum standards and best land management practice
    • Protection of native regrowth vegetation within 50 metres of mapped watercourses in the priority Great Barrier Reef catchments of the Burdekin, Mackay-Whitsundays and the Wet Tropics.
    • $2 million to deliver the new regrowth measures in partnership with industry groups.
    • A new simpler process that does not require a landholders to wait for a permit provided they comply with the Code
    • An exchange system that may allow some sections of protected regrowth to be cleared if replaced by another slice of land of greater size
    • Landholders who have a category X on a certified Property Map of Assessable Vegetation—(PMAV) representing approximately 1.4 million hectares—will not be affected by the new measures
    • Clearing regrowth as a consequence of a valid development approval or approval resulting from development applications made before 8 October will also not be affected

    “Other than for mapped watercourses in the priority Great Barrier Reef catchments, the new rules apply only to regrowth areas that have not been cleared since 31 December 1989.

    “This ensures that regrowth that is re-cleared regularly as a part of normal grazing practices is unaffected.”

    Mr Robertson said the new regrowth vegetation code will cover high-value regrowth on freehold land, indigenous land and agricultural and grazing leasehold land, as well as native regrowth vegetation along watercourses in priority reef catchments.

    “The code protects the most important regrowth vegetation such as endangered regrowth and habitat for threatened species, regrowth vegetation in wetlands, watercourses and on steep slopes,” Mr Robertson said.

    “The code also allows for clearing for weed control, thinning and encroachment. It gives certainty about a land holder’s duty of care when managing regrowth.

    “Landholders will not need to get a permit, they only need to notify the department and then follow the regrowth code. In addition, most routine clearing such as for fence lines and firebreaks will be exempt, as will burning off.

    “This approach recognises that many farmers are doing the right thing and the code works in conjunction with the new regrowth vegetation maps, which are the first place to look to understand what clearing can occur. “

    The new maps are available for free on the Department of Environment and Resource Management website.

    “I urge all landholders to check the map as it is an important tool to identify if regrowth vegetation on their property is affected by the new regulations,” Mr Robertson said.

    “I stress to landholders that the satellite technology that created these maps may have taken images of areas that have since been legitimately cleared.

    “This means that in some cases areas may be marked as protected which in fact are not.

    “The maps must not be read in isolation and should be interpreted with the legislation. Changes to the map can be made using a PMAV and if landholders have any concerns they should contact the department.”

    The department has also developed a landholder guide, a series of fact sheets and website information to assist landholders.

    “I believe the legislation is a fair outcome,” Mr Robertson said.

    “The government consulted extensively with peak rural, industry, conservation and banking groups while developing the regulations and I personally visited rural areas and spoke with primary producers to hear their views.

    ”What was obvious during my visit was that many farmers already practice good land management. “

    Mr Robertson said Department of Environment and Resource Management officers considered almost 400 submissions and investigated the possible economic impacts of the legislation on industry, primary producers and landholders.

    Another provision will allow some small and isolated patches of protected vegetation to be cleared if another larger area of unregulated regrowth is protected in exchange. This will help landholders consolidate areas of vegetation on their property and better manage it.

    “In addition, the government has pledged $2 million to deliver the new regrowth measures in partnership with industry groups,” Mr Robertson said.

    “I will be working quickly to discuss with rural stakeholder groups ways that industry and government can work together to ensure productive rural businesses and a sustainable environment.”

    For more information, for copies of the new Landholder Guide or for links to download a regrowth map for your property, visit

    Media contact: Minister Robertson’s office 3225 1861