QUEENSLAND landholders need to be mindful of “trigger mapping” contained in the State Government’s Nature Conservation Act or potentially risk facing prosecution, says specialist rural lawyer Tom Marland.
Mr Marland who operates as Marland Law said amendments to the Nature Conservation Act in 2014, saw 5.2 million hectares of land throughout Queensland affected by “trigger mapping” designed to prevent clearing of protected plants and vegetation.
“Trigger mapping overrides clearing approvals under the Vegetation Management Act including areas locked in as Category X on Property Maps of Assessable Vegetation,” Mr Marland said.
“Even if no protected species are present in the area, it is illegal to clear within a trigger map area without a permit.
“Landholders may unwittingly be clearing areas in full compliance with the Vegetation Management Act but may be in breach of the Nature Conservation Act.”
Fines range from $25,000 to $355,000 per breach.
Mr Marland said it was another insidious encroachment on rural landholders and their ability to manage vegetation on their property.”
“There has been no consultation from Government,” Mr Marland said.
“I would suggest very few landholders; their advisors or representatives even know the process exists.
“We are starting to see increased levels of investigations and potential enforcement even in areas that are mapped as Category X – non remnant under a PMAV.”
Mr Marland said landholders should check with the Department of Environment to see if a trigger map exists over their land. The free-of-charge maps can be accessed here.