Voluntary Conservation Agreements

Noosa Shire is located in one of the most biodiverse areas in Australia, with a large diversity of ecosystems and native plants and animals, some of which are listed under legislation as threatened or endangered.  Although 42% of Noosa Shire is within protected area such as National Park or Council environmental reserve, the balance is in private ownership. A significant proportion (34%) of remnant native vegetation is on private land. Council seeks to work with private landowners to protect native plants and animals beyond the boundaries of State and Council protected areas.

Protected areas noosa shire

Protected areas Noosa Shire

Voluntary Conservation Agreements (VCAs) are offered to private landowners within Noosa Shire as a way of conserving our unique natural heritage. Through the VCA program Council supports private landowners who wish to permanently protect environmentally significant bushland areas on their property.

What is a VCA?

A VCA is a contract between a private landowner and Council and provides permanent protection of all or a portion of your land. It is completely voluntary, the land still remains in your ownership. The agreed conservation area on the property is registered on the title of the land as a covenant and/or Nature Refuge. This designation remains on title when the property changes ownership. A VCA does not allow free public access to the property.

Why is Council offering VCAs?

Protecting native vegetation on private land contributes to the survival of native plants and animals which rely on particular ecosystems. It also provides wildlife corridors between isolated conservation reserves such as National Parks thereby assisting wildlife to move safely through the broader landscape. 

How does it work?

The protective mechanism is a conservation covenant under the Land Titles Act or a Nature Refuge under the Nature Conservation Act. Council pays for the costs of establishing the protective mechanism, develops an environmental management plan for the property, and provides ongoing financial assistance to implement the environmental management plan, such as managing invasive weeds or revegetation. In addition, Council’s Conservation Partnerships Officers provide ongoing services tailored to your specific property such as advice on property management, plant surveys and fauna monitoring.

Koala habitat planting on a vca property at black mountain

Koala habitat planting on a VCA property at Black Mountain

Am I eligible?

When you apply for a VCA your property will be assessed under a number of criteria such as size, presence of threatened ecosystems and plant and animal species, age and structure of the native vegetation, and proximity to existing conservation reserves.  To discuss the VCA program, contact Council's Conservation Partnerships Officer at environment@noosa.qld.gov.au or call (07) 5329 6500. An appointment will then be made with you to discuss the VCA program in more detail and do an initial property assessment.