Native vegetation includes a diversity of plant species which form different vegetation communities, habitat for animals and delivers a range of ecosystem services like water filtration, pollination, soil health and contributes to land productivity and our well-being.
In Victoria, a council planning permit is usually required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation on your land. These regulations are referred to as the Native Vegetation Removal Regulations and are implemented through your local council planning scheme. In addition, there are a number of other regulations such as the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, which typically only applies to public land and the federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which can affect both public and private land but generally only applies to large scale projects.
The Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (now the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action – DEECA) released the Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation in 2017, which outlines how native vegetation removal is required to be assessed along with how and when offsets are required. These Guidelines are incorporated into all Victorian planning schemes. Detailed information on the Native Vegetation Removal Regulations in Victoria can be found on the DEECA website.
In June 2023, DEECA released an updated version of the Native Vegetation Removal Regulations – Applicants Guide to inform landowners and land managers about the requirements and process of preparing an application for approval to remove native vegetation in Victoria.