Native vegetation

In Victoria, native vegetation removal is regulated through the planning system. If you want to remove native vegetation, a planning permit is generally required, unless the proposal is exempt. To find out if you need a planning permit contact Council.

What is native vegetation?

Native vegetation means plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. This includes areas of bushland with trees, scattered paddock trees, and treeless areas of scrub or grassland. In fact, some of the rarest or threatened vegetation types do not include trees at all, such as native grasslands, many wetlands and alpine communities.

It can be difficult for people who are not trained botanists, horticulturists or natural resource managers to identify areas of native vegetation that don't include trees. A person would be required to be skilled at identifying indigenous plant species, particularly when they are not flowering and also understand that some plants are only visible during certain times of the year.

The Planning and Environment Team can assist if you are unsure whether you have native vegetation on your property and/or require a planning permit for its removal. Some of the things to look out for include:

  • unimproved pasture - this often includes native grasses and may be a native grassland
  • areas of 'bush' or 'scrub' - particularly on undeveloped blocks, this may include a variety of native plant species
  • low-lying areas that fill with water after rain - these may be wetlands, particularly if they contain reeds, rushes or sedges
  • native trees - particularly large old trees, both live and dead

What happens if I need a planning permit to remove native vegetation?

As a first step, you should discuss your proposal with one of the Council's Planning and Environment Team. They can advise you:

  • if a permit is required
  • what information should be included in your permit application
  • whether Council officers should visit your property and discuss your proposal with you