The unlawful clearing of critically endangered black grevillea plants near Stanthorpe has been reported to the Department of Environment and Science (DES).
In a statement, the Department said it was made aware of the incident last week and its officers had conducted a preliminary site inspection.
“Local, external stakeholders suggest around 270 plants — or around 20 per cent of the world’s population — could have been destroyed,” the Department said.
“Scientists at the Queensland Herbarium will conduct an expert assessment report to provide information as part of the investigation into the matter.”
The Department said black grevillea (Grevillea scortechinii subsp. scortechinii) was a plant that was only found in a small area in Queensland’s Granite Belt and in NSW.
“The plant was listed as Critically Endangered under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 in August 2020 and the total known world population of black grevillea in 2019 was estimated to be just 1,449 mature plants,” it said.
“Under the Nature Conservation Act, and depending on circumstances, a person convicted of taking these protected plants without authorisation can face maximum fines up of to $400,350 or two years in prison.”
Secretary of the Stanthorpe Rare Wildflower Consortium, Liz Bourne said members of the group discovered the damage last week.
The group called for authorities to take strong enforcement action.
“We estimate in total something like 300 plants have been destroyed, or 20 per cent of the existing population,” Ms Bourne said.
“One section of this Council road reserve has been completely cleared,” she said.