Protection of wetlands in Great Barrier Reef catchments from effects of earthworks
State Planning Policy 4/11: Protecting Wetlands of High Ecological Significance in Great Barrier Reef Catchments
The Queensland Government is committed to the protection of wetlands of high ecological significance (HES) in catchments adjoining the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. State Planning Policy 4/11: Protecting Wetlands of High Ecological Significance in Great Barrier Reef Catchments (SPP 4/11) took effect on 25 November 2011 as part of a protection package for the Great Barrier Reef catchments. The package includes the SPP 4/11 policy and associated amendments to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009 and supporting SPP 4/11 guideline. The SPP 4/11 was subject to statutory public consultation prior to it being made. A submissions report provides further information.
The protection package is designed to maintain the ecological processes of these wetlands which reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment loads in the reef catchments—and importantly protect them from the effects of high impact earthworks. Wetland protection areas are shown on the map of referable wetlands and include wetlands of high ecological significance (HES) and a 100 metre (m) trigger area within urban areas and a 500m trigger area within rural areas.
Concurrence agency and assessment management
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) is either a concurrence agency or assessment manager for development applications for material change of use, reconfiguring a lot or operational works involving high impact earthworks (as defined in the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009) in wetland protection areas, which EHP assesses against SPP 4/11.
Development requiring referral to, or assessment by, EHP is listed in schedules 3 and 7 of the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.
High impact earthworks associated with, or that will be a consequence of, are:
- operational work under schedule 3, part 1, table 4, item 10
- reconfiguring a lot under schedule 7, table 2, item 43A
- material change of use under schedule 7, table 2, item 21A.
Some development is exempt from referral or assessment under this Regulation. For more information refer to the Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009.
High impact earthworks include the construction of new drains, placing of fill or construction of levies in a wetland protection area that significantly alter the hydrology of a wetland.
- Sustainable Planning Act 2009
- Sustainable Planning Regulation 2009
- Environmental Protection Act 1994
- Environmental Protection Regulation 2008
- Vegetation Management Act 1999
- Water Act 2000
- Fisheries Act 1994
- Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995
- Nature Conservation Act 1992
- State planning policy 4/11 (see availability)
- State planning policy 4/11 guideline (see availability)
- Submission Assessment Report (see availability)
- Frequently asked questions
- What makes a significant wetland?
- Guide to the new development assessment triggers
- Queensland wetland buffer planning guideline
- Is your property affected by the policy?
A CD containing the State planning policy, guideline and regional mapping information is available on request. Please email email@example.com.
Contact one of the listed EHP offices to request a copy of the SPP 4/11 CD or for advice on wetland regulation.
For more information about wetlands, including definitions, mapping, conservation assessments and management, visit WetlandInfo.
Available from the library catalogue
The documents referred to on this page are available from the department’s online library catalogue.
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