New timber plantation developments that constitute a material change of land use are subject to the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and local government planning requirements.
The ‘statutory’ Queensland Planning Provisions (QPPs) introduced by the Queensland Government in 2013 contain Statewide ‘forestry for wood production’ planning assessment codes that address those aspects of new plantation developments that could be considered to be ‘different’ from other traditional cropping activities. This includes the need for setbacks from adjoining premises and infrastructure, maintaining water quality and soils, and fire protection measures.
It is up to local governments to determine what level of assessment is required for new plantation developments in their area. Plantation operators should directly consult the planning scheme applicable to a proposed new timber plantation development to determine what assessment requirements may exist in a given local government area.
Further guidance on the planning assessment codes, and how they may relate to both existing and new plantations, can be obtained by reference to the Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland.