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New changes to Queensland’s strategic cropping land map

Amendments to Queensland’s strategic cropping land map have been heralded by the State Government as commonsense changes that will provide ongoing protection for high quality agricultural land, and clarify where development can occur.

In announcing the amendments, Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the updated strategic cropping land map reflected changes in land use that had occurred since the map was first released.

The Strategic Cropping Land (SCL) ‘trigger’ map identifies areas of Queensland that should be protected from development and maintained for food and fibre production.

Under SCL legislation, developments that may affect the productive capacity of that land must go through special approval processes.

However, Mr Cripps said the original trigger map encompassed some areas that have subsequently been designated as ‘urban’ under regional plans.

“These areas are clearly no longer highly suitable for cropping,” Mr Cripps said.

It had also come to light that the map extended into the Gemfields of central Queensland, land not highly suitable for cropping, which meant fossickers potentially had to apply under SCL regulations to fossick.

Mr Cripps said the amendments to the trigger map had removed the Gemfields and other areas of land that were inadvertently identified in the original map, such as airports, dams, power stations and mine pits.

Revisions have also been made to the SCL Standard Conditions Code for resource activities.

“These revisions will reduce the need for complex assessments and associated application fees for certain resource activities that pose a low risk of adversely impacting on strategic cropping land, or will have only a temporary impact,” Mr Cripps added.

“The revised code will expedite approval processes while ensuring appropriate management and protection of SCL remains firmly in place.”

Mr Cripps said additional amendments made to the Sustainable Planning Regulation would restore confidence to industries such as piggeries, poultry and egg production.

“These changes mean that piggery, poultry and egg production developments are treated the same as other intensive animal industries when it comes to development on Strategic Cropping Land and will no longer need an SCL assessment when proposed to be located on SCL or potential SCL,” Mr Cripps said.

Further information about the changes and the strategic cropping land policies are available at www.dnrm.qld.gov.au.