Permits & approvals


Updated 25 October, 2016

A sustained CANEGROWERS campaign has secured road access for growers needing to move wide agricultural vehicles. 

The conditions for movement vary depending on the width of the vehicle and region. This outcome, negotiated with the Queensland Police and Department of  Transport and Main Roads, avoids the need for growers to apply for individual permits. Click on the guidelines document below for the full conditions.

Growers are urged to comply with all of the conditions and use appropriate signage and pilots, where required. Failure to do so could jeopardise the future of the arrangements and put the grower in a position of liability should there be an accident.

CANEGROWERS has made a member’s only deal with Artcraft in Townsville for signs should they be required. Your CANEGROWERS membership number must be provided to get the special prices listed here. The company can be contacted on 4774 5255 or by email at

Operating guideline for the Movement of over-width
Agricultural Vehicles and Combinations in the
Queensland Sugar Cane Industry 2016

2013 Road Safety Operating Manual for Sugarcane Haulage Trucks Using Flotation Tyres 2013 Guidelines for Loading of Sugar Industry Cane Haulage Units for Travel on Public Roads
This industry guideline includes information relevant to the use of High Flotation Tyres (HFTs) by trucks in the sugarcane industry. This industry guideline includes information relevant to all haulage units operating in the sugarcane industry – both in-field and road transport units.


Cane Firing

To download the full guidelines, diagrams & sample letters click here (Word document)

Cane land adjoining cane land Burning cane in preparation for harvest continues to be an integral and essential part of farming operations for some cane growers. Under the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990, special provisions apply to the burning of sugarcane, tops and trash in those situations where a grower's Cane Production Area (CPA) is bordered on every side by other cane land. Click here for diagrams.

 The Commissioner’s special provisions apply only to sugarcane, tops or trash and therefore growers may not carry out any burning off operations for the clearing of grass on headlands or removing rat harbourages or for any other purpose without a permit from the Fire Warden. The QFRS Commissioner's Notification which reflects these special provisions permits growers to light fires for the purpose of burning sugarcane, tops or trash provided that:

  • no burning takes place between 10 am and 2 pm;
  • adequate precautions are taken to prevent the spread of fire;
  • the burning takes place in accordance with recognised industry practice;
  • where a fire is lit for the purpose of burning tops or trash, such tops or trash are raked at least 10 metres from any headland, standing cane or other flammable material;
  • burning takes place within those regulated times set by the local Cane Supply Agreement (subject to no burning between 10 am and 2 pm);
  • where a local Cane Supply Agreement does not regulate times when burning may be carried out, then such burning must take place at a time when sugarcane, tops or trash are normally burnt in the local area (again subject to no burning between 10 am and 2 pm).

Cane land adjoining non-cane land Where a grower’s CPA adjoins a neighbour's property which is non-cane land then the grower, wishing to burn sugarcane, tops or trash, must obtain a seasonal permit to burn from the local Fire Warden. The grower need only make a single application to cover a whole season.

Notification to neighbours A requirement for all fire permit applications is that the grower must notify all adjoining neighbours whose lands are non-cane land, either verbally or in writing, at the time when applying to the local Fire Warden for the fire permit whether it be a seasonal or one-off permit to burn.  Also, before actually burning cane, tops or trash the grower must notify the neighbour whose land immediately adjoins the block of cane or the block upon which tops or trash are to be burnt. This notice can be verbal with the neighbour being advised at least two hours before burning takes place or a minimum of 12 hours notice where the neighbour is advised in writing by the grower. Continuation of seasonal permits depends upon growers' total support and compliance with all aspects of the permit requirements. Growers have a responsibility to ensure the prescribed burning is strategic, timely, appropriate and correctly applied in accordance with legislative and industry standards.  Click here for sample letters.

Smoke management Smoke from cane fires and particularly tops and trash fires needs to be managed carefully in order to address community concerns such as nuisance to neighbours, perceived health hazards, the potential for reduced visibility on roadways which might create a safety hazard and perceived environmental greenhouse effects. When a fire is lit for the purpose of burning tops or trash, such tops or trash must be raked at least 10 metres from any headland, standing cane or other flammable material.

Offence & general penalty Failure to comply with any provisions of the Fire and Rescue Service Act is an offence. Penalty provisions including fines and/or imprisonment are prescribed under the Act.  Non-observance of the legislative provisions is likely to result in prosecution and adversely impact upon the protection afforded to the cane grower authorised to light the fire.

Permit not required A permit to burn cane, tops or trash does NOT have to be obtained where a cane grower's CPA land is separated from the neighbour's non-cane land by a roadway, watercourse or fire break which is at least 10 metres wide and which is clear of vegetation and flammable material.

To download the full guidelines, diagrams & sample letters click here ( Word document)


Rats can cause damage to sugarcane and the overall productivity of a crop. Growers are allowed to bait rats, however there are conditions that must be followed for baiting to occur.

The two species of native rat, the ground rat (Rattus sordidus) and the climbing rat (Melomys burtoni) are native grassland animals and are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 and their control is subject to the Queensland Government issuing a Damage Mitigation Permit. An industry-wide permit is currently issued and reviewed every three years. This avoids the necessity of individual growers applying for individual permits. Growers baiting for these rats must keep a record and provide this information to their local Cane Productivity Board.
The process that must be followed is:

  1. Only registered baits may be used. There are two registered for use in sugarcane, Rattoff and Racumen.
  2. Baiting can only occur between 1 October and 30 June.
  3. A record must be kept including the date commenced and date completed, the area baited, the product used, the species being targeted, the grower name and farm number
  4. Provide this record to your local Cane Productivity Service board. In person, by phone, fax or email

If this process is not followed, there is a risk that the Industry-wide Damage Mitigation Permit currently held by CANEGROWERS will not be renewed and growers will need to get  individual Damage Mitigation Permits to do any baiting for rats. Record keeping forms and resources are available through Smartcane BMP and your local Cane Productivity Board. Check out the CANEGROWERS Smartcane BMP Farm Chemical Record Book and the Smartcane Block Record Keeping Booklet which you can download from the Smartcane  BMP website or use the Smartcane BMP record keeping phone app available on iTunes or Google Play.

Mangrove removal

An approval process for mangrove removal and low-impact fisheries developments is available through the self-assessment codes that have been prepared for:

  • low impact aquaculture
  • dead marine-wood collection from unallocated State land for trade or commerce
  • maintenance works on existing lawful structures (other than powerlines and on-farm drains) in a declared Fish Habitat Area or involving the removal, destruction or damage of marine plants
  • on-farm drain maintenance works involving the removal, destruction or damage of marine plants
  • maintenance works on powerlines and associated infrastructure in a declared Fish Habitat Area or involving the removal, destruction or damage of marine plants
  • works for educational, research or monitoring purposes outside declared Fish Habitat Areas
  • minor waterway barrier works on low order inland waterways
  • temporary single waterway barriers works in freshwater.  

More information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.