Native Vegetation Regulations review

The rules for clearing native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Regulations 2003 have been reviewed by DEWNR in conjunction with the Native Vegetation Council (NVC) and changes are now being proposed.

The proposed changes allow for the clearance of native vegetation for activities that are routinely carried out by South Australians, such as building new homes, managing farms, upgrading or establishing new infrastructure, or making recreational trails.

The current Regulations came into operation in 2003 and have been amended on various occasions to adapt to the changing needs of the community. The review, which commenced in October 2014, is an opportunity to: 
  • consider how effectively the Regulations have been working
  • determine the relevance of the activities included 
  • decide whether new activities to enable reasonable clearance of native vegetation for everyday activities should be added.

What’s being proposed?

The new Regulations have been drafted in a way that will help you understand which clearance activities are allowed. They explain a simplified process for clearing through four distinct pathways that clearly describe the requirements to undertake the clearance of native vegetation.

Four pathways for clearance approvals:

  1. Direct exemptions, where Native Vegetation Council (NVC) approval will not be required. This is expected to apply to clearing for vehicle tracks, walking tracks, and regrowth less than five years old.
  2. Fire hazard reduction, management and control exemptions, where Country Fire Service (CFS) approval will be required. This could apply to clearing for fire protection for existing dwellings, for fuel reduction and for fuel breaks.
  3. Vegetation management activities, where an NVC-approved Management Plan will be required. For example, clearing to manage roadside vegetation, to maintain existing agriculture and to change a grazing regime.
  4. Major developments, mining and petroleum, and specified activities, where a Risk Assessment will be required. For example, clearing for infrastructure, buildings, houses, residential subdivisions, dams and recreation tracks. 
It is hoped that by making the regulations clearer and less complex, the right balance between the requirements of people needing to clear with the need to protect and restore the remaining native vegetation in South Australia will be found.
Check out this infographic story explaining why it’s time to simplify. 

Public consultation

Formal consultation on the draft Native Vegetation Regulations 2016 took place from July to August 2016. DEWNR received 66 submissions from organisations and individuals, including 30 responses to a survey on the YourSAY website.

Our response to the consultation is now available in the Response to Consultation report .

When will the reforms come in?

We are aiming to bring in the new Regulations in early 2017. 

If you would like to register your interest in being kept informed, please email