Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016

The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (Amendment Act) was assented to on 25 May 2016 and amends various legislation including the Nature Conservation Act 1992, the Land Act 1994 and the Aboriginal Land Act 1991.

The following amendments commenced on the date of assent:

  • the reinstatement of the conservation of nature as the sole object of the Nature Conservation Act
  • the removal of provisions allowing the amendment of management plans without public consultation if those amendments relate to a change in State government policy
  • the removal of the right for the chief executive to grant stock grazing permits for emergency drought relief.

The remaining provisions commenced on 1 July 2016.

Nature Conservation Act

In 2013, the Nature Conservation Act was amended by the Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 2013 which reduced the classes of protected area by abolishing or amalgamating tenures such as combining the former national parks (scientific) and national parks (recovery) classes with the national parks class and amalgamating the former conservation parks and resources reserves classes into a new class called regional parks.

The Amendment Act has reinstated the former classes of protected area and as a consequence of that, the former management principles for those areas have also been reinstated.

Land Act

Previous amendments to the Land Act provided for certain term leases such as those for agriculture, grazing or pastoral purposes, including those granted over protected areas, to be transitioned to rolling term leases.

The Amendment Act provides that leases used for agriculture, grazing or pastoral purposes are not rolling term leases if the leased area is in a ‘nature conservation area’ or a ‘specified national park’. All existing rolling term leases for agriculture, grazing or pastoral purposes in those areas will revert to being term leases.

Renewal of those term leases will require the views of the chief executive under the Nature Conservation Act to be taken into account before a decision on the application for renewal is made.

A decision not to renew cannot be appealed unless the decision was based on the applicant not fulfilling the conditions of the lease. This will allow for leases which are inconsistent with the management principles to be phased out.

Aboriginal Land Act

All national parks in the Cape York Peninsular region are transferrable land under the Aboriginal Land Act.

The Amendment Act provides that regional parks in the Cape York Peninsular region can be made transferrable land by way of a regulation and it has removed the need for those regional parks to be revoked before becoming transferrable land.

The information in this publication is provided for general purposes only. It is not to be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Crown Law and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General accept no liability for losses caused by reliance on the material in this publication. Formal legal advice should be obtained for particular matters.

Published: 4 August 2016

Author: Special Counsel, Robyn Hill