Infrastructure: construct or expand
Can I clear native vegetation for the construction or expansion of a building or infrastructure?
You can clear vegetation incidental to the construction or expansion of a building or infrastructure (and associated services) where the Minister has declared that the clearance is in the public interest and consent under the Development Act 1993 has been obtained. ‘Infrastructure’ is defined in Appendix 1 of the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 and in Regulation 12(34).
Does this include land under Heritage or Management Agreement?
No you cannot clear for this purpose on Heritage Agreement or Management Agreement land.
Do I need approval?
Yes you need to get approval from the Native Vegetation Council (NVC).
What do I have to do?
Make sure that your clearing is within the parameters of this activity.
Consider if there are other practical alternatives to clearing, including options that involve no clearing, or clearing vegetation that is less significant or more degraded.
The NVC will assess the clearance proposal for level of risk to biodiversity and whether there are any other alternatives that involve no clearance, less clearance or clearance of vegetation that is less significant (or has been degraded to a greater extent than the vegetation proposed to be cleared).
If your proposal is assessed as a ‘low risk’ activity (Level 1 of the Risk Assessment)
Your proposed clearance will be considered low risk if it is for 500m2 or less of vegetation, or 5 or fewer scattered trees. Although in the pastoral areas of the state (i.e. NRM Regions South Australian Arid Lands and Alinytjara), the vegetation proposed to be cleared can be up to 3 hectares.
You will need to provide the following to the NVC:
- an online application identifying the
- regulation that applies to your situation
- measures taken to avoid and minimise the proposed clearance
- number and size of any scattered trees to be cleared
- size of vegetation patch to be cleared
- any previous clearance history
- photographs of the site.
The NVC will assess the information against the Mitigation Hierarchy and the requirements of the regulation (you can see these in detail in the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017). If the NVC is satisfied, the NVC will issue an approval and a Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset of $500 will be required.
If your proposal is assessed as a ‘medium to high risk’ activity (Levels 2, 3, and 4 of the Risk Assessment)
If your proposed clearance does not meet the criteria for low risk (Level 1), you will be required to engage an Accredited Consultant to undertake a vegetation assessment of the proposed clearance area. The consultant will prepare a Data Report which must be submitted in addition to the information required for ‘low risk’ applications.
If any of the following escalating factors are identified in the risk assessment, the proposal will be automatically raised to the next level (i.e. 2, 3 or 4) of risk and an SEB offset will be required. If there:
- are trees with a trunk circumference of 50 cm or more (30 cm for the pastoral zone and measured at 1 m above the ground); or
- has been lawful clearance on the property within the last 5 years; or
- is a high likelihood that the vegetation contains or is habitat for a species listed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 or a threatened community under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
What are my obligations if I am granted approval?
- Undertake clearance within 2 years of approval being granted, unless otherwise specified.
Undertake clearance in compliance with any conditions that apply which are binding and enforceable against the person to whom the approval is granted as well as subsequent owners and occupiers of the land.
Clearance to maintain infrastructure under Regulation 8(2) may also apply.
What if I want to clear vegetation to maintain existing infrastructure?
You can clear vegetation to maintain infrastructure without seeking approval.