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Clearing for environmental works

Vegetation management laws allow you to clear native vegetation for a range of activities that provide environmental or social benefits.

Exempt clearing

Some clearing activities are considered exempt clearing under state vegetation management laws. You may be able to clear without getting our approval or notifying us if the clearing is to:

  • prevent impacts from events such fires, or falling trees or limbs
  • remediate contaminated land that is recorded in the environmental management register or contaminated land register.

Clearing under the code for necessary environmental works

If your clearing isn’t exempt clearing, you may be able to clear using the accepted development vegetation clearing code for necessary environmental works.

This code covers the clearing of vegetation in category B, C and R areas that is necessary for:

  • land restoration
  • flood preparation
  • contaminant removal
  • channel diversion for category C areas and category R areas.

Areas cleared under this code must be revegetated or left in a condition that will regenerate.

Development approvals for environmental clearing

If the code doesn’t apply to your proposed clearing – for example, if you don’t plan to regenerate the vegetation – you may be able to apply for a development approval to:

  • remove contaminants from land
  • divert a channel or stream
  • redirect the flow of water for a section of a stream
  • restore the ecological and environmental condition of land
  • prepare for a likely natural disaster to minimise or avoid impacts on infrastructure and human life.

Before you apply for a development approval, you will need to obtain a decision from us (a 22A relevant purpose determination) stating that your proposed clearing is genuinely for an environmental purpose.

How to apply

To apply, complete the relevant purpose determination application form (PDF, 210KB). You can lodge the form and supporting documents in person or by mail to any of our business centres. There is no application fee.

When submitting your development application, you may need to provide:

  • an environmental management plan to show how a cleared area will be rehabilitated
  • an environmental offset if land can’t be rehabilitated.

For more information on preparing your application read Necessary environmental clearing under the Vegetation Management Act 1999: A guideline for development applications.

Help with applications

For enquiries about application requirements and to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting, contact the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).

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