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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a clearance application under Section 28 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 (the Act) and a Level 4 application under the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 (the Regulations)?

Native vegetation in most parts of South Australia (except parts of metropolitan Adelaide) is protected by the Act. If you want to clear or remove native vegetation you need to comply with certain requirements (such as following guidelines) or apply for approval.

A clearance application under Section 28 of the Act applies to activities that must be approved by the Native Vegetation Council (NVC). Approval can only be granted where the proposed clearance is not at variance with Schedule 1 of the Act; the Principles of Clearance. The Principles relate to the impacts of clearance on species diversity, habitat, rare and vulnerable plants, remnant vegetation, wetlands, soil erosion and flooding.

A Level 4 application under the Regulations applies to activities that meet certain conditions where clearing native vegetation is permitted (they are exempt from the Act). These activities include:

  • major developments and projects (Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016)
  • mining, petroleum and exploration activities
  • other activities where the level of risk associated with the activity is not yet known.

Permission to proceed with a Level 4 clearance is contingent on the NVC approving a risk assessment and Significant Environmental Benefit (SEB) offset submitted by the applicant. The NVC will assess the clearance against 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).

Who makes the final decision on a clearance application?

Applications are assessed by the Native Vegetation Assessment Panel, which is made up of members from the Native Vegetation Council and Native Vegetation Branch. The Panel assesses an application following a 28 day consultation period. In making a decision, the Panel reviews the application along with supplementary documentation (such as a vegetation data report, risk assessment and significant environmental benefit offset) and any submissions received during the consultation period.

How long does a consultation run for?

Consultations on clearance applications under Section 28 of the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and Level 4 applications under the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 run for 28 days. The consultation period commences from the time the application is made available on the Consultation Hub. An overview of the consultation timeframe is available.

Why write a submission?

Writing a submission is a great way to present the Native Vegetation Assessment Panel with information that may not otherwise be uncovered in the process of assessing a clearance application. Your views and knowledge of a local area matter. Sharing this through a submission is an important way of ensuring the review process is robust and effective.

What happens to the feedback I submit as part of a consultation?

Your submission will be reviewed by the Native Vegetation Branch and you will be contacted if required to clarify the points you have raised or for additional information. Your submission will then be provided to the Native Vegetation Assessment Panel (NVAP) to read as part of their review of the application in question. You may also be invited to attend the NVAP meeting to present the key points of your submission to the Panel.

Can I submit feedback anonymously?

The Native Vegetation Assessment Panel receives all submissions in full, including the names of the contributors. You can request to remain anonymous in the event that the applicant and/or a member of the public requests a copy of submissions received. You will be asked about this when completing the online submission form.

I’m not an accredited consultant – am I qualified to make a submission?

You don’t have to be an accredited consultant to provide feedback on a clearance application, or provide an overly technical submission to be effective. It is helpful to be familiar with the aspects of the Act and the Regulations that apply to clearance applications. See our Guide for applications to clear native vegetation under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 or Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 for assistance.

I have some questions about an application that I want to provide feedback on. Who can I speak with?

Contact the Native Vegetation Branch by phone (+61 8) 8303 9777 or email

Will I be notified of the outcome of the consultation?

The outcome of a consultation will be publicly listed on the Consultation Outcomes page and anyone that has contributed to the consultation will be notified via email.