Special wildlife reserves are to be introduced for the protection of land with “outstanding conservation value” in Queensland. If passed, the legislation will protect a new class of privately funded and managed areas (on freehold and leasehold tenure) from resource activities and timber harvesting, for example.

The proposal is intended to encourage private investment in Queensland’s protected areas.

As proposed, a declaration of a special wildlife reserve will not be able to occur without the landholder’s agreement but, if a special wildlife reserve is declared, a legally binding conservation agreement and associated management program will be registered on title and will “run with the land”. Going forward, these agreements will have consequences for sellers and buyers of affected properties.

The legislation does not clearly define “outstanding conservation value”. Resources groups are concerned that the legislation will provide broad powers to the Department in determining whether a declaration should be made to the detriment of resource tenement holders’ interests.

The proposed legislation was referred to a parliamentary committee on 14 June 2017, which is due to report by 11 August 2017.

by Kasey Solar, Agribusiness Lawyer

This information is intended to provide a general summary only and should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice.

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