In Queensland, the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (the VM Act) regulates the clearing of certain vegetation in particular land areas. Amendments were made to the VM Act in 2013 to remove or modify its restrictions on clearing activities.
Projects under the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative–Avoided Clearing of Native Regrowth) Methodology Determination 2015 (Avoided Clearing method) involve the non-clearing of land on which unrestricted clearing is allowed via an unrestricted clearing permit.
The unrestricted clearing permit must be in place at the time a participant applies for registration of their project as an Emissions Reduction Fund project.
When an application is received to register an avoided clearing project located in Queensland, the Clean Energy Regulator will determine if the project activity meets the Emissions Reduction Fund’s eligibility criteria. The project must be:
Regulatory additionality as defined in the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 is the requirement that project activities are not required to be carried out by or under an Australian law. More information is available at regulatory additionality and government programs.
The project must also not be an excluded offsets project as defined in Part 3 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 (CFI Regulations). Excluded projects are not eligible to participate in the Emissions Reduction fund.
A project is considered an excluded offsets project if it involves an activity that was required by law and then the requirement was removed or made less onerous after 24 March 2011.
The Clean Energy Regulator is required to assess whether a project satisfies the regulatory additionality requirement and whether it is an excluded offsets project, when the agency makes its decision to register a project.
If the Clean Energy Regulator finds a project does not satisfy the regulatory additionality requirement, or that the project is an excluded offsets project, the agency must not register the project.
The Clean Energy Regulator will carefully consider the situation of Queensland projects affected by the VM Act (and its amendments) in relation to these requirements. The agency will assess whether the amended VM Act applies to the project land, whether it is category X land under the VM Act, and whether unrestricted clearing is permitted on that land.
As part of this consideration, the agency may consult with Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM) that administers the VM Act and issues unrestricted clearing permits to eligible landowners.
If the project land:
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