10 June 2010

Landholders will find it easier to understand the laws affecting the sustainable management of their land once a research project by a UQ law academic is complete.

TC Beirne School of Law Lecturer Dr Justine Bell is investigating how information from a large number of Australian environmental Acts can be drawn together into a single system.

“The legal issues surrounding the sustainable management of land are confusing because of the huge volume of Acts in Australia at federal, state and local government levels.

“In Queensland alone there are over 30 environmental Acts which impact upon how landholders can manage their land. This large number of Acts is a barrier to the sustainable management of property because it is difficult for landholders to find out what restrictions affect their land.

“My research is considering how we can draw together information concerning these Acts into a single system so that landholders can more clearly understand the legal issues surrounding the sustainable management and development of their property.”

Dr Bell said another associated area of her research concerned the adequacy of penalties imposed on developers who clear land to improve views from their properties.

“There has been an increasing number of instances where developers have contravened environmental protection legislation by clearing vegetation, often to improve water views from properties.

“Preliminary research suggests that current penalties are inadequate, and it is far more beneficial for developers to clear land, pay a small fine, and make a much larger profit from the improved views.”

Dr Bell anticipates the results of her research will dramatically improve land sustainability as landholders became more fully aware of the legal issues surrounding their properties.

Dr Justine Bell, 07 3346 7524, j.bell@law.uq.edu.au
Ms Lynda Flower, School of Law Marketing, 07 3365 2523, l.flower@law.uq.edu.au