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Clearing for high-value agriculture

Important: Proposed new vegetation management laws may affect the clearing you can undertake on your property. Some of these changes are effective from 8 March 2018.

Under the proposed changes, clearing for high-value agriculture (HVA) and irrigated high-value agriculture (IHVA) would be prohibited. No new development applications for clearing for HVA or IHVA will be accepted once the laws commence. Properly made applications submitted to the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA) before to 8 March 2018 will continue to be assessed and will not be affected by the changes.

For more information, read about the proposed vegetation management laws or call 135VEG (13 58 34) between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

The following activities relate to development approvals for clearing for high-value agriculture:


High-value agriculture

Irrigated high-value agriculture

Broadacre cropping (including sugar cane)



Annual horticulture



Perennial horticulture





Yes (irrigated pasture)

Plantation forestry



Application process

For information on the assessment process, requirements and fees, or to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting, contact the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).

A pre-lodgement meeting provides an opportunity to discuss your proposed activity with assessment staff, gain important information that will assist the preparation of your application, and ensure that it meets the requirements for submission.

As part of the application process, you will need to demonstrate in a development plan that:

  • the land is suitable for the proposed high-value or irrigated high-value agriculture
  • the development will be economically viable
  • there is no suitable alternative site and clearing is limited to the extent necessary to establish and cultivate crops. 

With this information DNRME will provide written confirmation that the proposed clearing is for high-value or irrigated high-value agriculture.  

SARA will assess your application against the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP) State code 16: Clearing native vegetation.

Resources for preparing an application

Guidelines for applying to clear for high-value or irrigated high-value agriculture

The guidelines provide details of the information required, a development plan template and an assessment process flowchart. The development plan template can also be downloaded separately.

Guidelines for meeting the land suitability and economic viability requirements for high-value and irrigated high-value agriculture applications

The guidelines provide detailed information on how to demonstrate land suitability and financial viability.

Guidelines for meeting the land suitability and economic viability requirements for high-value and irrigated high-value agriculture applications.

Land suitability maps

Land suitability maps will help you determine whether land is suitable for high-value or irrigated high-value agriculture.

Preparing a land suitability report

These resources will help you prepare a land suitability report. The frameworks include region-specific information for a range of criteria such as soil depth and rockiness.

See the guides to soil management for more information on land suitability and soil mapping.

Related links

Contact us

For more information about vegetation management, please contact us.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
8 March 2018
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