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Landholder partnerships

Discover how you can help to protect and restore our city’s natural environment.

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Voluntary Conservation Agreements

Voluntary Conservation Agreements Sign

Photo by Julius Bergh

Caring for your bushland can be time-consuming and costly, and there is no way of knowing what will happen to your property when it changes hands.

If you want to protect all or part of your property's bushland and receive financial support to manage it, you may like to enter into a Voluntary Conservation Agreement (VCA) with the City of Gold Coast.

A VCA is a legally binding agreement designed to protect the conservation values of your property, for either the term of your property ownership or permanently through a conservation covenant or Nature Refuge. When you apply for a VCA, you choose the area to be protected under the agreement.

As a VCA property owner, you will retain full control of your land and the right to enjoy it, and no one can enter your property without permission. In acknowledgement of your commitment and to assist you with the management of your conservation area, the City will provide you with:

  • rate assistance
  • cash reimbursements for management activities (for example, habitat restoration, routine weed management, erosion control or fire management)
  • support and technical advice.

Voluntary Conservation Agreement options

Voluntary Conservation Agreement options

The City offers two types of VCA - General Voluntary Conservation Agreements and Higher Voluntary Conservation Agreements.

  • The General VCA is not binding on future owners.
  • The Higher VCA places a conservation covenant or Nature Refuge on the property title and the property or part of the property is rezoned to Conservation Domain under the City Plan.
  • Both the General and Higher VCA are terminated when the property changes ownership. VCAs can also be terminated when both parties (City of Gold Coast and the landowner) agree to terminate.
  • The covenant and rezoning associated with a Higher VCA will remain over the designated conservation area after the VCA is terminated.
  • Landowners with a VCA can undertake normal activities such as building construction, maintenance of rural/residential buildings and other activities on land excluded from the VCA, under the rules set out by the City Plan.

Voluntary Conservation Agreement benefits

Wildlife Corridor

As a property owner with a Voluntary Conservation Agreement (VCA), you will receive financial assistance and support to conserve and restore native vegetation and wildlife habitat on your property, as well as peace of mind knowing your property’s bushland is protected.

Rate assistance

The level of rate assistance depends on the type of VCA and the size of the area protected under the agreement.

Property owners with a General VCA are entitled to an annual rate discount of between 30 and 50 per cent, based on the size of the area protected.

Property owners with a Higher VCA are entitled to an annual rate discount of between 50 and 100 per cent, based on the size of the property and the proportion of the property covered by the agreement.

Cash reimbursements

Depending on the type of agreement, a property owner with a VCA can receive up to $5000 cash reimbursement each year to help fund management activities on the property, in accordance with the management guidelines set out in the VCA.

Management plan

Your Conservation Partnerships officer will work with you to develop a property-specific management plan that considers your capacity, resources and future vision for your land. The plan will be reviewed annually.

Other support

Property owners with a VCA receive all the benefits offered through the Land for Wildlife scheme.

Voluntary Conservation Agreement eligibility and application

To be eligible for a Voluntary Conservation Agreement (VCA), a property must:

  • be located in an area where future urban or park residential development is not proposed by the City Plan
  • have a conservation area of at least two hectares, if joining City or State conservation estate, or five hectares, if not joining City or State conservation estate
  • have significant nature conservation values. When assessing a property for a VCA, the below strategic and ecological values will be taken into consideration:
    • 'endangered' or 'of concern' regional ecosystems
    • threatened flora or fauna
    • high quality, intact, old growth remnant vegetation
    • ecologically significant native vegetation forming part of a wildlife corridor linking major remnants
    • ecologically significant native vegetation adjoining national park or other conservation reserve
    • land suitable for restoration which is located within a critical corridor or other strategic location.

Further to the above criteria, the landholder must be able to work in partnership with City.

How to apply for the Voluntary Conservation Agreement

If you think your property meets these criteria and you are interested in a Voluntary Conservation Agreement, contact a Conservation Partnerships Officer on or 07 5582 8834.

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