Land clearing laws working – but more work to be done

Published Thursday, 30 December, 2021 at 01:37 PM

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

Laws to protect our most valuable ecosystems from broad scale clearing are working – and the Palaszczuk Government will continue to work with stakeholders to reduce damage in other vegetation areas.

Minister for Resources Scott Stewart said the release of the latest land clearing figures shows progress in protecting vulnerable areas.

“I’m encouraged the 2018-19 Statewide Landcover and Trees Study report shows less than 1% of cleared land was endangered, and apart from drought related fodder harvesting, remnant clearing is less than 8% of all clearing,” Minister Stewart said.

“This coincides with a marked improvement in identifying land clearing following the introduction of Australia-first satellite technology to monitor changes in vegetation.

“This higher-resolution technology captures images at a 10-metre resolution, compared to the previous 30-metre resolution.

“This means we can now more accurately track the location and age of woody vegetation, as well as human induced clearing.

“The new technology identified that 559,000 hectares were cleared, and a further 121,000 hectares was impacted by partial clearing.

“The change in the methodology means the data from this report can’t be directly compared with previous SLATS data, which have been used to compare rates of change over time.

“We will continue to work with industry and the community on the best ways to manage land clearing.”

A high proportion of the clearing in regulated vegetation areas can be attributed to:

  • exemptions given to clear for fodder purposes during the drought,
  • legacy exemptions, 
  • clearing for fire breaks and trails, and
  • some excessive clearing around the amendment of vegetation management laws

Deputy Premier and Acting Minister for the Environment and Science Steven Miles said a scientific expert group will be established to help understand the factors behind the latest clearing, identify incentives to help avoid clearing and advise if other measures are needed.

The make up and terms of reference for the working group will be finalised in early 2022.

“Our government understands the importance of relying on science and expert knowledge when it comes to protecting vegetation,” Mr Miles said.

The 2018-19 Statewide Landcover and Trees Study report and further information can be found here


Media contact:    

Chris Lees – 0434 859 940