The Northern Territory Government has released its proposed changes to the Pastoral Land Act and details of the planned Native Vegetation Management Bill for comment.

The draft Bill incorporates the Cascade Assessment Process as a safety net to provide for orderly development, through a framework, that protects the vegetation vital for maintaining landscape health, such as riparian vegetation and sensitive and significant locations and communities.

The draft Bill is intended to advance current arrangements by:

  • Being explicit in its intent to retain and manage native vegetation to maintain healthy and productive landscapes delivering high quality ecosystem services;
  • Placing limits on total and annual rates of land clearing;
  • Nesting consideration of individual land clearing applications within a local, regional and landscape context, with explicit thresholds for assessment;
  • Providing for equitable opportunities for Indigenous landholders;
  • Taking account of greenhouse gas emissions from land clearing and other climate change issues;
  • Establishing a single authority to assess and approve land clearing on both pastoral and unzoned freehold lands;
  • Setting improved and more easily enforceable penalties for breaches;
  • Setting a consistent approach to the management of re-growth; and
  • Creating improved and consistent arrangements for review and appeal of decision making.

The draft Bill will manage all broad acre clearing in the Territory that is currently managed under the Planning Act and Pastoral Land Act. It incorporates some key elements of the Pastoral Land Act such as consent for purpose that support sustainable development and makes stronger links between land clearing and water allocation through regional planning processes. The draft Bill will apply to all lands of the Northern Territory with the exception of nominated land zoned under the NT Planning Scheme.


Comments are required by 31 May, 2011.  For further information go here.