Vegetation management laws
Vegetation management laws were changed in May 2018, reinstating vegetation management controls repealed in 2013. The laws increase protection for high-value regrowth and remnant vegetation and boost protection for important habitats, including waterways leading to the Great Barrier Reef.
Summary of changes
Protecting high-value regrowth
- Changing the definition of high-value regrowth vegetation - this term now applies to vegetation not cleared in the last 15 years rather than since 31 December 1989
- Regulating regrowth on freehold land, Indigenous land and occupational licences in addition to leasehold land for agriculture and grazing
Improving habitat and environmental protection
- Boosting protection of essential habitat for near-threatened wildlife
- Regulating all regrowth along waterways in all 6 Great Barrier Reef catchments
- Requiring a riverine protection permit before removing vegetation in a watercourse
- Prohibiting clearing for high-value agriculture and irrigated high-value agriculture
Monitoring and compliance
- Improving monitoring and other measures to ensure compliance with the law and reporting based on latest science
- Supporting the use of self-assessment for low-risk activities
The laws do not change the onus of proof. The state is still required to prove a landholder is guilty, the same as other offences.
What the changes mean for landholders
Under the current vegetation management laws, landholders can still conduct necessary clearing for their farm operations and property management, including clearing to:
- prepare for or recover from natural disasters
- manage encroachment
- establish property infrastructure
- control weeds.
You can also continue to harvest fodder for stock in drought, although the accepted development code for fodder harvesting has been replaced and you will need to re-notify your intention to clear.
Check the impact on your property
To find out if your property is impacted by the vegetation management laws, you can request free vegetation maps and property reports. The maps identify regional ecosystems, regulated vegetation including high-value regrowth, wetlands, watercourses, drainage features and essential habitat.
Property maps of assessable vegetation (PMAVs)
If you have a certified PMAV, it is not affected by the laws introduced in 2018. However, you will have the option of converting vegetation mapped as Category X to Category A if you wish.
Find out more about how to apply for a PMAV.
Accepted development vegetation clearing codes
The accepted development codes for fodder harvesting and managing Category C vegetation have been updated. You will need to make a new notification before clearing under these codes.
The interim vegetation code for managing thickened vegetation has been removed. Landholders wishing to manage thickened vegetation on their property need to apply for a development approval.
All remaining clearing codes will be reviewed and updated in consultation with stakeholders.
Find out more about the vegetation clearing codes review.
Find out more
- Obtain a free vegetation property report.
- View the current accepted development clearing codes.
- Read about the current vegetation management requirements.
- Read about how we monitor clearing activities and penalties for unlawful clearing.
Last reviewed 09 January 2019