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How to apply

Read more about other legislation which may apply to vegetation clearing, including the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

If your proposed clearing activity is not permitted under other clearing options, you may be able to lodge an operational works, material change of use or reconfiguring a lot development application.

Relevant clearing purposes

The vegetation management laws only allow development applications to be made for certain purposes (i.e. for relevant purposes). These include:

  • a project declared to be a coordinated project under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, section 26
  • the necessary control of non-native plants or declared pests
  • ensuring public safety
  • establishing a necessary fence, firebreak, road or vehicular track, or constructing necessary built infrastructure, and the clearing for the relevant infrastructure cannot reasonably be avoided or minimised
  • a natural and ordinary consequence of other assessable development for which a development approval was given under the repealed Integrated Planning Act 1997, or a development application was made under that Act, before 16 May 2003
  • fodder harvesting
  • thinning of thickened vegetation
  • clearing of encroachment
  • an extractive industry
  • a special Indigenous purpose under the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007
  • necessary environmental clearing
  • irrigated and non-irrigated high-value agriculture clearing.

Relevant purpose determinations are made under Section 22A of the Vegetation Management Act 1999 and are required for operational works and material change of use development applications. Without a relevant purpose determination, the proposed clearing constitutes prohibited development and an application cannot be made.

This is not the case for development applications to reconfigure a lot. These do not require a relevant purpose determination.

Relevant purpose determination

Prior to lodging a development application, you should contact the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy to discuss the purpose of your clearing and whether a relevant purpose determination is required.

If you intend to clear for irrigated or non-irrigated high-value agriculture you will need to provide specific information in the form of a development plan. You will also need to provide specific information if you intend to undertake necessary environmental clearing. The guidelines for determining high-value and irrigated high-value agriculture and guidelines for necessary environmental clearing provide details of the information required, as well as resources to assist you to prepare an application for these clearing purposes.

Application process

For information on the assessment process for an operational works, material change of use or reconfiguring a lot development application, requirements and fees, or to arrange a pre-lodgement meeting, contact the State Assessment and Referral Agency (SARA).

When you submit your development application to SARA, it will be assessed against the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP) State code 16: Clearing native vegetation. The SDAP guidance material for State code 16: Clearing native vegetation (PDF, 642.8KB) provides guidance on the information required and the resources available to you for preparing a development application.

Environmental offsets

In some cases, vegetation offsets can be used to compensate for environmental values lost through development. The current requirements for vegetation offsets are available in the State Development Assessment Provisions (SDAP), State code 16: Clearing native vegetation.

Voluntary declarations

Voluntary declarations can be used by landholders, developers and organisations to protect areas of native vegetation that are not otherwise protected. They can also be used as a form of legally binding mechanism for securing vegetation offsets.

Information about how to make a voluntary declaration and the assessment process can be found in the guide.

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
31 October 2017
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