Exempt clearing work

Under the state government’s vegetation management laws, there are some clearing activities you can undertake without getting our approval or notifying us. These are summarised below and detailed in the:

Before going ahead with your clearing, check with your local government for any planning requirements. Other local, state and federal government laws might also apply. See below for a list of exemptions under other legislation.

The exemptions might not apply if the area you’re proposing to clear is subject to:

  • development approval conditions
  • a covenant
  • an offset
  • a voluntary declaration
  • restrictions as a result of unlawful clearing.

Contact us if you think these restrictions might apply to your property.

Exempt clearing work for agriculture and grazing purposes

The following apply on freehold land, Indigenous land and leasehold land for agriculture and grazing purposes. Information on vegetation types can be obtained from the regulated vegetation management map for your property.

Clearing purpose

Vegetation type


All purposes

Category X

Clearing is exempt on freehold, Indigenous and leasehold land.

Establish new buildings or structures

Least concern regional ecosystems

Clearing to construct necessary buildings and structures where the total clearing extent and the extent of the buildings and structures does not exceed 2ha.

Clearing to source construction timber to establish necessary buildings and structures on the land.

Fences, roads or tracks

Least concern regional ecosystems

Clearing to establish a necessary fence, road or vehicular track to a maximum width of 10m.

Fire management line


Clearing for a necessary fire management line to a maximum width of 10m.



Clearing to establish or maintain a necessary firebreak to protect buildings and structures (other than fences, roads and tracks) to a maximum width of 20m or 1.5 times the height of the tallest adjacent tree, whichever is the greater.

Hazardous fuel load reduction


Clearing by fire to reduce hazardous fuel load under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.

Maintain existing infrastructure, including buildings and structures


Clearing necessary to maintain infrastructure, including buildings, structures, fences, roads and watering points.

Clearing to source construction timber to maintain existing buildings and structures on the land.

Risk to people or infrastructure, including buildings and structures


Clearing necessary to remove or reduce the imminent risk the vegetation poses to people or infrastructure, including buildings and structures.

Clearing for development

Clearing under a development approval for a material change of use or reconfiguring a lot is exempt clearing work under vegetation management laws if prior approval is given for a development application:

  • for which the chief executive (administering the Planning Act 2016) is a concurrence agency for clearing vegetation or
  • if a lot to which the application relates is less than 5ha, for which a local government is the assessment manager.

Exemptions for bushfires, floods and natural disasters

A range of exemptions are available to help you prepare, deal with or recover from a natural disaster, such as flood or fire.

Exemptions under other legislation

Exemptions apply to some clearing activities permitted under other legislation, including the Forestry Act 1959, Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990, Electricity Act 1994, Electricity Regulation 2006 and Disaster Management Act 2003.

Exemptions also apply to clearing for mining, petroleum and gas activities.

Under the protected plants laws, there are certain exemptions where protected plants can be cleared regardless of how the area is shown on the flora survey trigger.

There are also certain exemptions under the koala protection laws that regulate interfering with koala habitat in a koala habitat area.. Exemptions may apply if your clearing:

  • complies with an accepted development vegetation clearing code
  • is for fire management
  • is to manage serious risks to people or buildings/infrastructure
  • is necessary as a result of a declared disaster situation.

Visit the Department of Environment and Science website for more information.

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