Planning and development

Native vegetation in most parts of South Australia (except parts of metropolitan Adelaide) is protected by the Native Vegetation Act 1991. See our maps to find out where the Act does and doesn’t apply.

If you are in an area where the Act does apply, read on to find out when and how to apply for clearance approvals.

When does your development proposal need clearance approval?

A clearance approval is required for development activities that could cause substantial damage to native plants. This also applies to dead trees in certain circumstances, if they provide habitat for animals.

Under South Australia’s legislation, clearing or removing native vegetation must be avoided, minimised and/or offset. If clearing is unavoidable, you must seek the approval of the Native Vegetation Council. This is a separate process from the development approval process under the Development Act 1993.

It is quite possible for a development approved under the Development Act to not meet the separate requirements of the Native Vegetation Act. In such cases, the development may not be able to proceed.

Before you apply for development approval, it’s important that you understand whether your proposal will impact native vegetation. Use the pre-lodgement guide below to quickly determine which approval pathway is the right one for your development.

Pre-lodgement Guide

Is your development outside of metropolitan Adelaide?

  • NO – if the development is within Metropolitan Adelaide, the Native Vegetation Act may not apply and you don’t need to seek approval. See our Maps to determine if the Act applies.
  • YES – if the development is outside Metropolitan Adelaide, the Act applies and you may need to seek approval. Read the Native Vegetation and Clearance Assessment Terms and Concepts Guide to see how the Act applies to you. Contact us if you need further information.

Does native vegetation need to be cleared or damaged for your development?

  • NO – you don’t need to seek approval. (Note: Clearance includes slashing, grazing, draining or flooding of land, burning, severing of limbs, and any other activity that causes substantial damage to native vegetation.) 
  • YES – go to our clearance exemptions page for grounds for an exemption and how to apply. Or if you know you need to seek approval, go to clearance applications.

Make an application to clear

Find out how to apply for clearance approvals and get support for preparing an application.