In response to Brisbane residents rating a 'clean and green' city as one of our highest priorities, Brisbane City Council has introduced the Natural Assets Local Law (Interim) to protect vegetation on around 50,000 hectares of private and public land.
The Local Law is effective from today and penalties do apply to landowners and businesses that remove or interfere with protected vegetation without approval from Council.
This law will expand the area of protected vegetation across the city by 60 percent to cover more of our city's rarest bushland areas, wetlands, waterway corridors and even some trees in new suburbs.
As part of Councils vision for a 'clean and green' city in 2010, this new Local Law will assist us—Council and the community working together— to protect our natural assets for future generations.
With more people wanting to live in Brisbane, there is greater pressure on the city's natural areas for development.
Since the introduction of Vegetation Protection Orders (VPO) by Council 11 years ago, VPOs have helped to reduce the rate of clearing across Brisbane by half. This was a significant improvement, but we can do better.
We need stronger measures to protect our most valuable vegetation, so that future generations can enjoy the benefits we've come to expect from living in such a unique and beautiful city.
This new Local Law will help us to protect vegetation and provide the critical steps required to achieve an ecologically sustainable Brisbane.
What does the Local Law aim to do?
The Local Law aims to:
Who will be affected and how?
You may be affected if you own land near a river, waterway, or wetland, in a bushland area or in an Emerging Community Area (as designated under City Plan 2000).
Landowners and/or occupiers with vegetation protected under the new Local Law will be required to consult with Council prior to clearing trees and other vegetation on their property, or face severe penalties. The Local Law applies from today. If you are unsure, check with Council before you interfere with vegetation.
Local Laws to protect vegetation are not new and exist in most cities and states in Australia. Sydney introduced laws protecting vegetation more than 30 years ago and Melbourne 20 years ago.
How will I find out if I have protected vegetation on my property?
If you have protected vegetation on your property you will receive a letter from Council shortly. Your property will also be listed on www.brisbane.qld.gov.au. This letter will outline which category of protected vegetation applies to your property and any activities that will be exempt under the new Local Law.
To answer any questions you may have, you will also receive A Guide to the Local Law— Protecting Our Natural Assets.
What do I do if I need to clear vegetation on my property?
Regular or normal property maintenance is generally exempt under the new Local Law. Again, if you are unsure, check with Council as the Law applies from today. If you need to clear or carry out works on protected vegetation on your property, you are required to complete an application form and submit it to Council for approval. No application fees apply.
Damaging or clearing protected vegetation without a permit can cost both property owners and contractors penalties of up to $63,750.