Media Release Fight For Our Reef

Great Barrier Reef relief: Tree clearing laws pass QLD Parliament

May 4, 2018

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) today congratulated the Palaszczuk government for passing new vegetation protection laws that will reduce pressure on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Stronger laws to protect our native vegetation was a promise made to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2015¹,” said Imogen Zethoven, AMCS Fight for our Reef campaign director.

“Last year the World Heritage Committee “noted that important legislation regulating land clearing has not been passed yet, and that increased efforts are needed”.

“Tree clearing near creeks and rivers can result in increased sediment flowing into the Great Barrier Reef, turning the water turbid, smothering seagrass meadows and corals and undermining an inspiring experience for snorkelers and divers.

“While some loopholes still do exist – with regard to the clearing of Category X “exempt” vegetation in Reef catchments – these laws represent a great step forward for the Reef.”

Ms Zethoven called on the federal government to support the Queensland government’s regulatory efforts to better protect the Reef.

“The federal government has just announced $201 million² to improve water quality over five years.

“The Prime Minister now needs to step up and demonstrate real leadership by publicly supporting Queensland’s regulatory actions to protect the Reef from catchment pollution. He also needs to act urgently on climate change, the biggest threat to the Reef.”

AMCS congratulates the work done by The Wilderness Society, WWF Australia and the Queensland Conservation Council to achieve the stronger vegetation law.

For interviews and more information contact Liz Stephens on 0407 224469 or at [email protected]


  1. The joint Commonwealth/State Reef 2050 Plan, which allowed the Reef to avoid being listed In Danger, commits the Queensland government to protect remnant and high value regrowth native vegetation, including riparian zones.
  2. $201 million is for water quality out of a total package of $500 million.