Native Vegetation Clearance

Applying to Clear Native Vegetation in South Australia

In South Australia, native vegetation is protected by the Native Vegetation Act 1991. In most cases the clearance of native vegetation requires the consent of the Native Vegetation Council.

How do I know if I need to apply?

You need to submit an application to clear native vegetation unless your clearance proposal is covered by a specific exemption under the Act.

Native vegetation includes all naturally occurring local native plants from small ground covers and native grasses to tall trees. Plants may be part of bushland or isolated, such as single trees in pasture. The Act does not require an application for dead trees, non-native vegetation or native vegetation that has been planted.

Clearance means any activity that might damage or destroy native vegetation and includes not just cutting down and removing plants, but also burning, poisoning, slashing of understorey, removal of branches, ripping of roots, drainage, reclamation of wetlands and in some circumstances grazing by animals.

Are there any exemptions from the controls?

The Regulations of the Native Vegetation Act list a number of exemptions where clearnce of native vegetation does not require approval. A full list can be obtained from the Native Vegetation Council Secretariat. The following are some of the most commonly applicable exemptions:

  • clearance needed for the erection of an approved building or structure
  • clearance within 20 metres of a dwelling
  • clearance up to 5 metres wide (excluding roadsides)
  • on each side of a fenceline for maintenance or construction purposes
  • for an access track for vehicles
  • for a firebreak

What do I do if clearance is not exempt?

You will need to submit an application, incorporating a native vegetation management plan, to clear the Native Vegetation Council. An application form which details the information necessary for an assessment con be obtained from regional offices of the Department for Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs, or this Council office. The application should include:

  • an aerial photograph of your property (available from Mapland or Regional offices of DEHAA)
  • property location and size
  • description of native vegetation
  • details of proposed clearance
  • details of proposed action to offset the effects of the clearance.

The completed form with the appropriate application fee needs to be sent to the Native Vegetation Council.

How long will it take to process my application?

The assessment process can take three months or more, but will vary depending on the number of clearance applications that have yet to be assessed, and the size and complexity of your application. A well planned application will help minimise any delays.

Where can I get more information?

Contact Council's Manager Environmental Services or:

Native Vegetation Council Secretariat

Postal Address:
GPO Box 1047
Street Address:
270 The Parade
Telephone: (08) 8204 8888
Facsimile: (08) 8204 8724