Negotiating Australian land management laws

October 30, 2018 9:49 am

Navigating the laws and government policy on vegetation management can be tricky.

We take a look at these laws and show how managing your asset is a long-term sustainable approach to agriculture.

Australian Land Management Policy

Australian laws relating to vegetation management can vary greatly depending on location, jurisdiction and current government policy. With every rotation in the last of these factors, change seems almost constant. Therefore knowing what regulations and codes apply to your property or investment and how these may impact what you can and can’t do, can be very significant.

As an example, recent changes in Queensland have in many cases restricted prior management options while in New South Wales, the administration of current legislation is providing some improved guidance and flexibility to land management.


The clearing of native vegetation is regulated by both State and Federal governments. In some jurisdictions, local governments also can have a significant role in regulation. Some examples of different regulations are summarized below.

Under Federal law, a landholder may need to obtain approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 if the proposed clearing has a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance, such as threatened species or ecological communities.

In Queensland, under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, you may need a clearing permit before clearing protected native plants. Regulated vegetation is categorised as:

  • Category A – areas subject to compliance notices, offsets and voluntary declarations
  • Category B – areas of remnant vegetation with no differentiation between conservation status
  • Category C – areas of high-value regrowth on leasehold land for agriculture and grazing purposes with no differentiation between conservation status
  • Category R – regrowth watercourse areas on freehold land, indigenous land and leasehold land for agriculture and grazing purposes within the priority reef catchment areas
  • Category X – areas which are non-remnant, not regulated regrowth and not subject to compliance notices, offsets or voluntary declaration


In New South Wales, the Local Land Services Act 2013 provides a framework for clearing of native vegetation that does not require consent, while consent for clearing regulated vegetation can be sought under Division 6 of Part 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013. As in Queensland, many exceptions or allowable activities exist. Mapped vegetation has been categorised as:

  • Category 1 – Exempt land allows native vegetation clearing without approval.
  • Category 2 – Regulated land is any Category 2 land that is not Vulnerable or Sensitive, therefore authorisation for native vegetation clearing may be required.
  • Category 2 – Vulnerable regulated land is where clearing of native vegetation may not be permitted under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018, and a limited suite of allowable activities.
  • Category 2 – Sensitive regulated land – where clearing is not permitted.


How we can help

Impact Ag has experience assisting land managers to interpret and navigate a pathway through various clearing regulations and in liaising with regulators and accredited ecologists.  Our practical experience has demonstrated the relationships between soil, plant, animal and human health while increasing the productivity of the land and enhancing its natural resources.

This will protect and enhance these assets, allowing future generations to appreciate biodiversity and natural heritage.

Further information on the items summarised above can be found via:

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