Pastoral company fined for land clearing in state forest

Issued: 16 Aug 2021

A pastoral company has been fined $18,000 in the Dalby Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to illegally clearing land in the Kumbarilla State Forest, southwest of Dalby. The company was also ordered to pay $1,500 in legal costs.

Between 20 May 2020 and 15 June 2020, the company used earthmoving machinery, including a bulldozer with a stick rake to clear approximately 25 hectares of land in the state forest.

The cleared land was identified by rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) while travelling along the Moonie Highway approximately 60km southwest of Dalby.

The land contained brigalow regrowth, some of which had been growing for approximately 20 years. Brigalow is an important species which forms part of various regional ecosystems.

After clearing the section of land, the company pushed the felled trees into stacks and burned them.

The company was charged with one offence of unlawfully interfering with forest products, contrary to section 39(1) of the Forestry Act 1959 and one offence of using a restricted item in a state forest, contrary to section 73D(1)(g) of the Act. No convictions were recorded.

The company holds a lease over part of the Kumbarilla State Forest and is permitted to graze cattle in the leased area.

In sentencing the company, the magistrate emphasised the need for deterrence. “It is essential that state forests are protected,” she said.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) welcomes the fine that was handed down in the Dalby Magistrates Court. As Queensland’s environmental regulator, DES treats breaches of the Forestry Act very seriously and will take strong enforcement action.

People are urged to report suspected land clearing and environmental emergencies by calling 1300 130 372.

Visit the DES Media centre for photos and videos of the clearing.