Land clearing in Queensland: Competing discourses of property rights

Land clearing on private property has been a contentious issue for many years with various ‘discourse coalitions’ holding strong views about the contents of future legislation. Landholders tend to view land clearing through the lens of private property rights, where tree clearing is necessary to keep land in productive use, and that these rights should be enshrined in the law. Competing discourses assert that assets such as trees are common goods,that help mitigate climate change and provide a habitat for endangered species. Our research into the governance of vegetation management is currently underway – taking an interdisciplinary approach that examines ‘black letter law’ alongside the discourses found in public hearings in Queensland’s Regions. The early analysis highlights landholder’s strong distrust of science, the government and a city-based ‘green ideology’, highlighting a policy imperative to address Australia’s growing rural-urban divide.


Other Team Members

Hope Johnson (QUT, Law), Rowena MacGuire (QUT, Law)


  • Richards, Carol, Lyons, Kristen (2016) The new corporate enclosures: Plantation forestry, carbon markets and the limits of financialised solutions to the climate crisis Land Use Policy, 56, pp.209-216.
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