$15,000 fine for illegal clearing

A LOCKYER Valley land owner has been fined $15,000 and a contractor $2000 for clearing native vegetation without a permit in two separate cases on freehold land near Gatton.

Churchable property owner Terrence Hines appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court this week where he pleaded guilty to unlawfully clearing seven hectares of land.

Hines told the court he cleared a portion of his land on his Woton Road at Churchable in 2004 to establish a greyhound training facility.

Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) prosecutor Ralph Devlin told the court Mr Hines was aware the vegetation on his property was protected under the law, but still went ahead with clearing his land.

Contractor Anthony Dennehy was also fined $2000 for clearing four hectares of endangered native vegetation on a nearby parcel of land on Wotan Road in 2008.

In sentencing, Magistrate Donna MacCullum took into consideration that Dennehy co-operated with DERM by admitting liability and co-operating with the investigation.

Department of Environment and Resource Management Assistant Director-General Dean Ellwood said these fines would hopefully act as a deterrent to other landholders and contractors who believed they could disregard Queensland’s land clearing laws.

“Both parties broke the law under the Integrated Planning Act 1997 and the Vegetation Management Act 1999 by not applying for a permit to clear the land,” Mr Ellwood said.

“The department is determined to protect Queensland’s vegetation and prosecute those who do the wrong thing.”

Mr Ellwood also said that in the Dennehy case, not only landholders but also contractors had a responsibility to check whether permits to clear land were required, and if so, whether the landholder had obtained those permits.

“Contractors must make sure the landholder has gone through the appropriate channels of inquiry, and any necessary approvals obtained, before any land clearing is carried out,” he said.


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