MBRC Planning SchemeNative vegetation clearing and exemptions

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What is native vegetation?

Native vegetation refers to a native tree or plant naturally occurring in the region (which for the Moreton Bay Region is considered as South East Queensland).  It should be noted that native grasses are generally not protected. The only protected grass in the Moreton Bay Region is Cyperus semifertilis (Missionary nutgrass) which is listed as vulnerable in Queensland under the state government’s Nature Conservation Act 1992.

The Queensland Museum Guide: Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane provides a useful guide for identifying native tree and plant species. Copies are available at local libraries or can be purchased from Council’s customer service centres.  Alternatively, the state government provides a native plant identification service at Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane Botanic Gardens

View further information about Native trees and plants of Moreton Bay.

What is vegetation clearing?

Vegetation clearing means damaging or destroying vegetation. This could include ring barking, topping, lopping, poisoning, burning, flooding, draining, or otherwise injuring vegetation including cutting down, pushing over, and damaging root zone by compaction, excavation or filling within the drip zone of vegetation that may destroy or seriously affect vegetation.  Partial clearing such as removal of understorey, thinning of native vegetation or the removal of dead habitat trees is also considered clearing. However, vegetation clearing does not include maintaining existing open pasture, lawns or creating gardens and grazing of native pasture by stock. 

Can I clear native vegetation?

Yes, where not located within the Environmental area overlay and:

  1. Not located in the Limited development zone; Caboolture West local plan - Green network precinct; Overlay map - Riparian and wetland setbacks; or Water supply buffer on Overlay map - Infrastructure buffers;
  2. not native vegetation identified as a significant tree listed in Schedule 2 of Planning scheme policy - Heritage and landscape character;
  3. not a habitat tree. 

No, where located within the Environmental area overlay except:

  1. for the purpose of establishing a dwelling house subject to certain thresholds;  
  2. where a native vegetation exception applies.   

A native vegetation clearing exemption applies if:

  • Clearing within an approved development footprint;
  • Clearing necessary for emergency access (within approved buffer);
  • Clearing immediately required in response to an accident or emergency;
  • Clearing necessary to remove risk to serious injury or damage to infrastructure;
  • Clearing necessary to construct and maintain a property boundary fence (within approved buffer); 
  • Clearing necessary for works and maintenance within an easement for public infrastructure or drainage purposes;
  • Clearing in accordance with a bushfire management plan, submitted to and accepted by Council;
  • Clearing of weed species, maintaining existing open pastures and cropping land, windbreaks, lawns or created gardens; 
  • Grazing of native pasture by stock;
  • Native forest practice where exempt under the planning scheme 

A habitat tree is defined as a native tree with a diameter greater than 0.8m at 1.3m above the ground. Habitat trees often have large canopies and structural hollows where animals live, breed and shelter.

Property owners should also check to ensure individual trees are not protected for local heritage values (see significant tree listed in Schedule 2 of Planning scheme policy - Heritage and landscape character).   

In some cases exempt vegetation clearing may still be protected by other State Government legislation. Refer to state government information on vegetation clearing for more details.   

For more information  

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Council provides this information as a general reference source only and has taken all reasonable measures to ensure that the information in this web site is as accurate as possible at the time of publication. However, the Council makes no representation and gives no warranty about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or suitability for any particular purpose of the information. To the full extent that is able to do so in law. Council disclaims all liability, (including liability in negligence), for losses and damages, (including indirect and consequential loss and damage), caused by or arising from anyone using or relying on this information for any purpose whatsoever.

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