Frequently asked questions—changes and new additions to species conservation classes in Queensland
Does the reclassification process affect other state legislation?
Authorities under the following Acts require impacts on threatened species to be managed: Environmental Protection Act 1994, Marine Parks Act 2009, Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act) and Planning Act 2016.
Impacts may be managed through the application of permit or licence conditions aimed at avoiding or mitigating the impacts. In the case of impacts on species listed as threatened (‘endangered’ or ‘vulnerable’) that are significant and enduring, offsets may be required in accordance with the Environmental Offsets Act 2014 (EO Act).
Changes to species’ conservation status are not likely to have a significant impact on business or the community when the species concerned are co-located with species or ecological communities already listed as threatened under the NC Act and/or the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
Reclassifying wildlife may have some impact on activities regulated under the Planning Act 2016 and Vegetation Management Act 1999 (VM Act), due to potential changes to statutory mapping administered under these Acts.
Up-listing a species’ conservation status to threatened may amend essential habitat mapping under the VM Act. This occurs when the habitat of a threatened species is identified, mapped and approved by the State, which is a separate process (to species reclassification) undertaken by government.
Offset requirements may apply to unavoidable impacts on essential habitat.
What does reclassification mean for local government?
Species reclassification will not have an impact on existing local government planning schemes or local laws; however, this process can influence the development of future land-use planning and laws.
This is because changing a species’ conservation status to threatened may amend the ‘matters of state environmental significance’ (MSES) mapping under the SP Act through changes to essential habitat mapping under the VM Act and the identification of new threatened species habitat.
Future land-use planning activities will need to consider MSES at the time of development. In most cases, this means developing planning strategies that first avoid, and then minimise, impacts to MSES.
How does reclassification change requirements for clearing protected plants?
The reclassification of a protected plant species will not impose additional requirements for activities under an already approved clearing permit or exempt clearing activities.
Reclassification will generally only change requirements in areas where a protected plant species listed as ‘least concern’ has been reclassified to a higher threatened status and the protected plants flora survey trigger map is subsequently updated, potentially identifying new areas of the state as high risk.
In high risk areas, proposed clearing activities (unless exempt) are required to undertake flora surveys to identify and assess potential impacts on protected plants.
The ongoing nature of wildlife species reclassification means that species are both ‘up-listed’ and ‘down-listed’, so there are also times when near threatened or threatened protected plants are reclassified as ‘least concern’, thereby potentially reducing the extent of high risk areas.
A clearing permit is required to clear threatened and near threatened protected plants. Any significant residual impacts on threatened protected plant species that can’t be avoided may be required to be offset in accordance with the EO Act.
The protected plant legislative requirements apply to all clearing activities. Further information is available on the protected plant legislation pages, including clearing exemptions.