FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The following frequently asked questions about nature refuges are provided for information purposes only. If you have a question about nature refuges that is not covered on this page, please head to the Contact Page and provide Land Management Online with the details.
Mortgages | Management Conditions | Nature Refuge Agreements | Notifications | Vegetation Clearing | Nature Refuge Amendments | Rate Relief Eligibility | Public Access | Signage | Native Title | Mining |
Question: If I have a mortgage, do I need to ask for the bank’s consent to the nature refuge agreement so I am not in breach of any mortgage conditions?
Answer: Sections 44 and 45 of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 requires the State to contact interested parties that may be affected by the declaration of a nature refuge. This includes mortgagors listed on the property’s title. There is no requirement for a landholder to seek this consent from their bank; however your written consent for the State to speak to your bank/bank manager is required.
Question: If my needs are not accommodated by the fixed or selectable management conditions in the nature refuge agreement, am I able to negotiate a management condition that does?
Answer: Management conditions within nature refuge agreements focus on desired conservation outcomes as opposed to dictating how an outcome should be achieved. This allows greater flexibility for landholders to determine how best to manage their property to achieve the desired conservation outcomes based on their personal circumstances now and into the future (e.g. land uses, approach to land management, resources available to them). Where management conditions within the nature refuge agreement do not satisfy a landholder’s needs, an outcome-focused customised condition may be negotiated between the State and landholder.
Nature Refuge Agreements
Question: Much of the nature refuge agreement seems broad and unclear about what I can and can’t do. Could it lead to disputes later on?
Answer: Nature refuge agreements are intentionally broad and outcomes focused. This provides maximum flexibility for landholders to determine how best to achieve conservation outcomes. As agreements are binding in perpetuity, a prescriptive agreement may not be able to accommodate new ways of doing business or new findings on best practice land management and therefore are likely to date very quickly. In the unlikely event that a dispute does arise, there are provisions within the nature refuge agreement which guide how a dispute is to be resolved.
Question: Under what circumstances is a nature refuge landholder required to notify the State?
Answer: Examples of situations where a nature refuge landholder is required to notify the State are contained within Schedule 2 of the nature refuge agreement. These include:
- When the landholder becomes aware of any Threatening Process (e.g. a process capable of threatening the survival of protected wildlife) on the nature refuge or on adjoining land that may impact the significant values of the nature refuge.
- Where the landholder is unable to carry out their obligations under their nature refuge agreement due to an Emergency Event (e.g. fire, flood, cyclone).
- When a landholder enters into a contract of sale, or similar, to sell their nature refuge, they are required to notify the State of the name and contact details of the buyer within 10 Business Days of entering into the contract or agreement. This advice enables the State to respond to any queries the new buyer may have in relation to the terms and conditions of the nature refuge agreement.
- In the unlikely event of a dispute between the landholder and the State in relation to the nature refuge agreement formal notification by one these parties is required to trigger resolution of the matter via mediation.
- When a landholder wishes to finalise the location of any Relocatable Mixed Use Zones on the Protected Area Plan for their nature refuge. The State assesses, and where appropriate, approves in writing the final location of Mixed Use Zones and is responsible for ensuring the agreed location is accurately captured on the Protected Area Plan.
Question: Does a nature refuge agreement restrict the rights that other interest holders have to clear or harvest vegetation?
Answer: For leasehold land, Recital E in the nature refuge agreement reinforces that the sale or harvest of forest products under the Forestry Act 1959 is not affected by the declaration of a nature refuge. These practices are regulated under the Forestry Act and other instruments such as codes of practice.
Other interest holders that have a legitimate right to clear or harvest vegetation on leasehold or freehold land (e.g. easement holders, holders of mining leases) may be materially affected by declaration of a nature refuge. This is largely due to the fact that persons who have an interest in a nature refuge must also comply with the terms and conditions of the nature refuge agreement. Under legislation, the State is required to contact interest holders to determine if they wish to support or object to the proposed declaration of a nature refuge. In instances where the State receives an objection, such as from an easement holder, the easement may be excluded from the nature refuge area.
Further Question and Answers on Vegetation Clearing coming soon.
Nature Refuge Amendments
Question: Can nature refuge agreements be updated or amended?
Answer: A nature refuge agreement may be amended via a deed of variation or through negotiation of a new agreement where the conservation values and/or management of the nature refuge will be enhanced as a result of the amendment.
Rate Relief Eligibility
Question: Are nature refuge landholders eligible for rate relief?
Answer: The State does not provide rate relief for nature refuge landholders; however, some Local Councils provide rate relief for conservation partners, including nature refuge landholders. Contact your Local Council for more information.
Question: Are nature refuges publicly accessible?
Answer: No. Public access to a nature refuge is no different to any other privately owned/managed property; access is only by permission of the landholder. This is clearly stated on standard nature refuge signage.
Question: Do I have to have nature refuge signage displayed on my nature refuge?
Answer: No. There is no requirement for a landholder to have or display nature refuge signage. Please let your nature refuge officer know if you don’t wish to have any nature refuge signage.
Question: What is the relationship between native title and nature refuges?
Answer: On leasehold and reserve land, nature refuge agreements ensure the long term economic and environmental values of a property are protected in a way that will not affect native title rights and interests. Holders of native title rights and interests are not bound by terms and conditions of a nature refuge agreement unless they are titleholders of the property or provide written support for the proposed declaration of a nature refuge. Native title rights and interests shall remain unimpaired and may be enjoyed to their fullest extent.
Where relevant, the State notifies relevant registered native title claimants, holders and/or native title representative bodies of all proposed declarations of nature refuges.
Questions and Answers on Mining coming soon.