Redland City Council considers the illegal clearing of native vegetation is a serious environmental offence and is not accepted on Redlands Coast.
This was confirmed by His Honour Magistrate Ross Mack’s decision in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today in favour of Redland City Council.
Magistrate Mack found the defendant, Darren Burns, guilty of illegally clearing land at East Coast Road, Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island/Minjerribah in 2020.
The Court fined Mr Burns $20,000 plus costs and ordered him to revegetate the land.
Magistrate Mack found that the State Government planning laws were applicable to the land and the clearing of native vegetation, carried out by Mr Burns, contravened section 162 of the State Planning Act.
The Court did not accept the defence that being a native title holder, Mr Burns was exempt from State Government Planning Laws and Council’s Planning scheme.
The Court also acknowledged the clearing of native vegetation, in this instance, was not consistent with a traditional customary practice.
Council acknowledges and respects that a native title determination exists over the land, however it brought this court case solely to address the unlawful clearing of that land.
Council takes the unlawful clearing of vegetation seriously and will continue to hold all persons accountable for the illegal clearing of vegetation.
Today’s court decision should be a warning for those considering the clearing of trees that you must have the relevant approvals and/or permits in place prior to commencing the removal of trees, particularly native vegetation.
Every year, Council receives a large quantity of complaints about potential illegal tree clearings in areas across the city.
While a large quantity of the complaints are unfounded and with the majority of property owners doing the right thing, unfortunately there are occasions when compliance action is required.
Compliance may include enforcement action and or revegetation orders.