Queensland Government's NEW Protected Plants Regulatory Framework
Jul 07, 2014
The Queensland Government's new protected plants regulatory framework commenced on 31 March 2014. The new framework introduced a simpler and more effective system focused on addressing the impacts of high risk activities on the conservation of Queensland’s native plants while streamlining the regulation of low risk and sustainable activities that pose minimal risk.
Recently, there have been some developments associated with the new framework, including the development of Protected plants assessment guidelinesand revision of the flora survey trigger map.
Protected plants assessment guidelines
New protected plants assessment guidelines are now available on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) website. These statutory guidelines came into effect on 23 May 2014.
The guidelines have been prepared to support the implementation of the new protected plants legislative framework, and provide clear and transparent guidance about considering an application under the NCA for a protected plant authority. Applications to take protected plants in the course of clearing, growing and harvesting activities in Queensland are required to comply with the assessment guidelines, and be determined by the department in accordance with the guidelines.
Protected plants flora survey trigger map update
The flora survey trigger map introduced under the new protected plants framework provides an interrogative tool for persons wishing to clear vegetation to determine whether their proposed area of clearing falls within a ‘high risk area’ and is therefore subject to the new flora survey requirements for protected plants. ‘High risk areas’ shown on the flora survey trigger map are those areas where plants classified as endangered, vulnerable or near threatened wildlife are present or are likely to be present.
The Queensland Government’s Species Technical Committee recently reassessed the conservation status of near threatened protected plant species under the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006. On recommendation of the STC, on 9 May 2014 94 near threatened plant species were reclassified to reflect current scientific knowledge, as well as the delisting of one species that is no longer recognised as a native species.
The Queensland Government has committed to reviewing – and if necessary, amending – the flora survey trigger map at least every 12 months. However, from time to time, the map may require more frequent revision. As ‘high risk areas’ within the flora survey trigger map are determined by the classification of protected plant species, for accuracy the map has been updated in line with these species reclassifications and delisting.
The updated map can be accessed on the EHP website.