Clearing Regulations - Changes To The Legislation
Before getting carried away when clearing paddocks ready for cropping – just because you heard on the news that farmer can now clear 5ha without a permit, that’s only under exempt from permit circumstances. There’s also another fact sheet on clearing preciously cleared land (of suckers).
Which circumstances do not require a clearing permit?
Exemptions to clear up to 500 mature trees in one financial year, for one landholder (all properties) exist when you are clearing for:
- Maintaining fences within your own farm
- Clearing around a building
- Vehicular and walking tracks (not within 100m of an existing track or cleared fenceline)
- Material for fences and buildings (own use ie no commercial gain)
- Woodwork (own use)
- Firewood (own use)
- Isolated paddock trees
Fencing: General guidance
Clear only up to 1.5m from the fenceline into the reserve, or up to 5m on own side of fence while not exceeding 5ha for all exempt clearing in any one year.
If a boundary fence, seek permission from your neighbour when it’s a reserve.
Who are your neighbours?
Phone 9735 9988 and ask for Charlie Downs.
That is a road reserve or other shire managed reserve, please send in a mud map of the proposed maintenance area with length of fence and your contact details. Add date of proposed fencing. Address your request to the landcare office. Wait for a response before clearing – we like to check there is no Declared Rare Flora before giving you the nod.
Fallen vegetation – it is still considered ‘clearing’ if you dispose of it, aka burn, therefore leave, if not in your way, or after removing strainers, firewood etc from the tree, shift it (maybe to a remnant) and leave it to rot. I know it’s a pain but it provides valuable habitat and wins you browny points. Plus now you have a good place to bait your foxes next year, and then your ewes can lamb in peace.
Isolated paddock trees
What is a practical test for an isolated tree? Measure – perhaps with a hand held GPS, with a length of rope or even counting out your paces etc between any vegetation and the drip-line of the tree in question.
- > 50m apart? Ok to clear.
- < 50m apart? Need to apply for a clearing permit.
You’ll soon get a feel for which trees in the paddock are isolated or not, mark the more then 50m apart trees for knock down. Perhaps make a big chalk mark on the trunk or mark on a google maps print out of your paddock (for the dozer driver).
If the paddock trees are not isolated, that is less than 50m from other native vegetation, then you will need to apply for a clearing permit. Yes, there are added complications.
As we’re in a recognised area for all three species of Federally listed Black Cockatoo’s, which by the way is a pretty rare occurrence, before clearing, make sure the tree does not have any nesting cockatoos in it. That is, does the tree have hollows? We were advised by DPaW to shake the tree, which if it’s a 15m tall red gum, may be a tad difficult. If you can’t do that then, is there evidence that cockatoos have been around recently? Like, can you find any chewed nuts on the ground?
If yes, then re-visit the tree on dusk or dawn to check if birds are still around, apparently they stop breeding soon. Or, make a loud noise, and armed with a pair of binoculars, see if they poke their heads out of the hollow. In any case, Cockatoos are incredibly noisy so you’ll soon know they’re there. If present, don’t knock down the tree. Alternatively wait for ages to get hold of a suitably qualified person, pay them > $500 a day to relocate the chicks for you and then knock down the tree.
However you may feel sorry for the birds who only nest in >200 yr old trees, and decide to leave it there for their families who return to the same nesting spot, year after year. Lovely sob story that – but other than squawking and keeping the neighbours awake, they’re pretty quiet on the subject of losing their homes.
All links to DER’s detailed information and fact sheets are available by simply clicking the links below.