Native vegetation exemptions
In Victoria, a planning permit is required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation, unless:
- there is an exemption to the requirement for a permit in the planning scheme
- the native vegetation is listed in a schedule to clause 52.17 in the relevant planning scheme
- the removal of native vegetation is the result of the continuation of a lawful existing use for the purposes of Section 6(3) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
Local council can provide further information about when a permit is required for the native vegetation.
Exemption to the requirement for a permit to remove native vegetation
Tables of exemptions are set out in Clauses 52.16 and 52.17 of planning schemes. These exemptions allow landowners to remove some native vegetation in certain circumstances without the need for a permit. In addition, specific bushfire protection exemptions are listed in Clause 52.48. If the removal is covered by an exemption under Clause 52.48, no planning permit is required under Clause 52.16 or Clause 52.17.
The Planning Scheme for your Municipality can be accessed on Planning Schemes online.
Most exemptions are narrowly defined to prevent the removal of excessive amounts of native vegetation without a permit. Before removing native vegetation without a permit, ensure that the removal is eligible for an exemption, and is consistent with any conditions specific to the exemption.
Activities which may be exempt from the requirement for a permit in certain circumstances include:
- removing wood for personal use
- mowing or slashing of grass for maintenance
- lopping and pruning for maintenance
- removing planted vegetation
- removing regrowth less than 10 years old
- removing native vegetation on a site less than 0.4 hectare in area.
On land where planning overlays apply, some exemptions may not be available, check with your local council before undertaking works to remove native vegetation.
Exemptions for clearing around dwellings for bushfire protection and fence line maintenance
In September 2009 the Victorian government introduced the 10/30 rule for clearing of native vegetation around buildings used for accommodation. In implementing the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, the 10/30 rule will remain in place and the 10/50 rule has been introduced in areas where the bushfire hazard is greatest as identified by the new Bushfire Management Overlay. This is in keeping with the Commission's view that the ability to remove vegetation for fire protection should be more closely aligned with risk.
Information to help determine whether the 10/30 rule or 10/50 rule applies to your property is included in the fact sheets below.
Fire protection exemption for road managers
In response to recommendations made by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, an exemption is available under clause 52.17-6 of the Victoria Planning Provisions for road managers to remove native vegetation along roadsides without the requirement for a planning permit. The exemption provides for a broad range of fire mitigation treatments to be undertaken on roadsides to reduce threats to life and property from bushfires. The exemption is subject to an agreement to ensure that supporting documentation is provided by road managers. This includes a work plan. The Roadside vegetation management for bushfire mitigation purposes - guideline for road managers has been prepared to assist road managers in utilising the exemption.
Terramatrix Pty Ltd has developed the Road Bushfire Risk Assessment Guideline to assist road managers in undertaking the risk assessment process as described in the Roadside vegetation management for bushfire mitigation purposes - guideline for road managers.
A word template has been provided to assist road managers in the preparation of a work plan to meet the requirements of the agreement.
For further information contact:
- your local council
- Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Customer Service Centre on 136 186
- Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667
- the Department of Planning and Community Development - Building in bushfire prone areas
Please note: Document(s) on this page are presented in PDF format. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, you can download a copy free from the Adobe web site.