Queensland environmental legislation is complex and ever-evolving, with bushfire setbacks in urban areas being a subject of particularly heated debate. In June 2019, Biotropica were requested to provide advice to a development client, in relation to the potential environmental offsets required due to proposed vegetation clearing. The implications of the bushfire buffer requirements were particularly significant in this case, and would require the client to clear several hectares of valuable wildlife habitat.
Biotropica staff were able to assist the client to understand the relevant environmental legislation, and specialist botanists attended site to determine the exact extent, composition and legal status of the vegetation on site. A series of options were presented to the client, enabling them to understand the implications of the current legislation.
The results of Biotropica’s investigations have been presented to government to clearly show policy-makers the perhaps unintended impact of environmental legislation, and to lobby for sensible change to policies that are myopic to the nuances of a tropical climate and bushfires. Climate change notwithstanding, the humid tropics experiences a lower fire risk than temperate and sub-tropical areas, and the risks to life and property are markedly different to southern areas where the legislation deserves to be more stringently observed.