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Law Reform · Energy & Climate

Have your say: Protect our wildlife and ecosystems from broadscale land clearing

14 April, 2016

Public submissions are due Friday 29 April 2016. It is essential that this Bill is passed, to ensure the Reef, wildlife, soils, waterways and our climate are protected.

The Queensland Vegetation Management (Reinstatement) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 is currently under inquiry by a parliamentary committee. Public submissions are due Friday 29 April 2016 (formerly 25 April).

This Bill is fulfilment of a 2015 election commitment by the Palaszczuk government to reinstate vegetation protection laws weakened under the Newman government. See here for history and background.

Parliament needs to hear from you as to why our vegetation must be protected from broad scale clearing. This is important, as Parliament will certainly be hearing from a poorly informed, noisy minority who wants rights to clear, regardless of the environmental impacts.

We understand farmers and landholders need to do essential or routine maintenance clearing on their properties. That clearing won’t be restricted by this Bill.

Reinstatement of “reversal of the onus of proof” sounds complicated, but our legal opinion is that this reinstatement is nothing to fear for responsible landholders. This was part of the law for years,  without even one example of a problem, until the Newman changes.

All “reversal of the onus of proof”  means is that, unless proven otherwise,  a landholder is considered responsible for any clearing on their own land. Just like if the car you owned was to run a red light, it would be assumed that you were driving, unless you could show otherwise.

Please, get your submission to the Committee by Friday 29 April 2016 (and let us know if you sent one in).

To make it easy for you, we have prepared a basic template you can use as a base for your submission.  Remember to take out and fill in all of the highlighted sections as described. This time we have not put the key points in for you: rather it is up to you to add key points to that template from the suggested list below.

And remember: the more you can personalise your submission with your thoughts and case studies as to why the Committee should follow your recommendations, the more effective your submission will be!

Key points we suggest you could include in your submissions

  • Who you or your group are, what are your objectives and any case examples about land clearing
  • Reasons why you care about protecting our vegetation – e.g. do you care about:
    • protecting koalas, or other threatened species of concern to you;
    • the impact of tree clearing on  increasing drought in our already drought stricken state – it has now been proven that the more trees we have, the more rain we have;
    • the impact of tree clearing on climate change  - tree clearing causes millions of tonnes of CO2 to be released into our atmosphere;
    • tree clearing near catchments can cause land erosion and run off into our river catchments – the erosion and run off caused by clearing along the Great Barrier Reef catchment banks is a leading cause of impacts to our Reef; or
    • any other issues you are concerned about that are relevant to your area.
  • Support the passing of the bill, to protect Queensland’s ecosystems and wildlife. This bill is important particularly because it:
    • reinstates the protection of high value regrowth on freehold and indigenous land;
    • removes provisions which permit clearing applications for high value agriculture and irrigated agriculture;
    • broadens protection of riparian vegetation, especially in the Great Barrier Reef catchments of Burnett Mary, Eastern Cape York and Fitzroy Great Barrier Reef;
    • reinstates the application of the riverine protection permit framework to the destruction of vegetation in a watercourse, lake or spring; and
    • reinstates a broader requirement for environmental offsets to be required for any residual impact, not just ‘significant’ impacts as is currently provided for in offsets legislation (and has led to only 1 offset being registered for vegetation impacts since 2014).

EDO Qld - in association with WWF-Australia, The Wilderness Society and Sunshine Coast Environment Council - recently held LawJam's on vegetation management reforms in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

Download the presentation slides from our presenters 

How to make a submission

The closing date for lodging submissions is Friday 29 April 2016.

Written submissions should be sent by post to:

Research Director
Agriculture and Environment Committee
Parliament House

or by facsimile to: 07 3553 6699

or by email to: vminquiry@parliament.qld.gov.au

Submissions must be:

  • clearly written
  • emailed directly, or emailed as an attached Word/PDF document, or via post or fax
  • brief and to the point, and include any information to support your points

Submissions must include:

  • the author’s name and signature
  • if the submission is made on behalf of an organisation, the level of approval (e.g. a local branch, executive committee or national organisation)
  • mailing address (and email if available)
  • daytime telephone number

For more information see:

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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