A clear path ahead: Navigating Queensland’s vegetation management framework

LANDHOLDERS and Queensland Government department representatives have come up with a solution to improve land condition (weed control) on a property that meets reef protection regulations at the same time as meeting vegetation management obligations.

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

So when landholder Bristow Hughes, of Strathalbyn Station, proposed a trial to eradicate high density invasive, non-native plants and declared pest plants on a 400ha site that borders with a river and a neighbouring grazing property, he called in the experts.

Representatives from the Office of the Great Barrier Reef (OGBR), Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy (DNRME), and NQ Dry Tropics met with Mr Hughes on his property, to better understand the problem and look for solutions.

The gathering at Strathalbyn Station to help the landholder navigate a path through vegetation management regulations.

Mr Hughes’ goal is to improve degraded land condition in line with reef protection regulations’ grazing minimum standards.

If not sufficiently treated, the weed infestation will continue to worsen having implications for sediment runoff and productivity, as well as spreading to other properties downstream.

DNRME representatives were able to help Mr Hughes work out how the Accepted Development Vegetation Clearing Code: Managing Weeds applied to his property. The code refers to the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld) and the Planning Act 2016 (Qld), which jointly regulate the clearing of native vegetation in Queensland.

What’s allowable in terms of the practical application of the code satisfies Mr Hughes’ requirements for removing weeds, primarily belly ache bush in remnant vegetation.

The solution involved clearing a 10m firebreak along the boundary, and five metre access breaks every 30m through the affected area.

Mr Hughes will also develop a grazing plan to manage the area.

The meeting was a result of a proposal Mr Hughes submitted to the OGBR through LDC’s Policy Engagement Activity Area. The aim of this activity area is to facilitate better landholder engagement in relevant policy development, review and implementation in the BBB catchment. 

Read about the Strathalbyn proposal and Policy Engagement Activity area here.

Here is a story about a policy roundtable that LDC held in 2019.

Discussing the Strathalbyn proposal to manage weeds on-site at the property are from left, Laura Sellen, DNRME, Michelle Sangricoli, DNRME, Rae Schlecht, OGBR, and with back to the camera, Dyan Hughes, of Strathalbyn Station.

Strathalbyn Station landholders Bristow and Ureisha Hughes with son Archie.