Exempt clearing not exempt

Recently, the Queensland Court of Appeal decided that despite the vegetation being classified as Category X (under the Vegetation Management Act 1999) and indicated as ‘exempt clearing work’ under the Planning Regulation 2017, clearing was still assessable. The High Court dismissed leave to appeal this decision.

The decision undermines a common expectation that clearing of Category X vegetation (included as exempt clearing work) is not assessable under the Planning Act 2016.  Local government overlays or other requirements of their planning scheme may trigger clearing vegetation as assessable development.
The Institute had sought State Government rectification of  this situation and asked for more clarity and simplicity. At this stage the State considers the High Court decision as consistent with their view of Category X.
The Institute is now pursuing review of local environmental overlays to arrive at a more coherent, rationalised, and transparent vegetation retention and offset.
More information is available on this issue here.
Members should check their situation prior to undertaking any clearing. Any comments on this issue can be directed to Manager of Policy, Martin Zaltron via email or on 07 3229 1589.