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Clarity on managing native vegetation on your property

News release
10 October 2018

The community is reminded to seek guidance early from Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula staff and become familiar with exemptions and permit requirements when managing native vegetation on private properties.

Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board Presiding Member Mark Whitfield says native vegetation provides many benefits that should not be undervalued.

“Native vegetation is an important asset that helps to stabilise soil and reduce erosion, acts as shelters and windbreaks for stock and crops, traps dust, filters run-off from paddocks, hosts pollinators and other beneficial insects that reduce pest insects; to mention just a few of the services it provides at no cost,” he said.

“Excessive removal of native vegetation can cause or exacerbate problems such as salination, the spread and encouragement of weeds, soil erosion, waterlogging and flooding.

“The Eyre Peninsula landscape supports a great mosaic of agricultural and native vegetation-covered land. The way that we continue to sustainably use this land to produce food, fibre and range of other industries is something that is increasingly scrutinised by consumers.”

Before clearing native vegetation it is best to seek advice, as even dead plants may be protected by the law if they provide benefits such as being important habitat for wildlife. It is important to note that clearance involves any type of killing, destruction, removal or intentional spraying of native vegetation.

In 2017 the Native Vegetation Regulations were streamlined to cut red tape and allow self-assessment for activities not requiring a permit under the Native Vegetation Act 1991.

Manager Parks and Sustainable Landscapes Tim Hall says self-assessment clearance activities include fire hazard reduction, fence maintenance and site safety for people and property.

“Clearance activities that can be undertaken on your land without a permit are clearly detailed in the Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 and are on the Department for Environment and Water’s (DEW) website, though in some instances you are still required to notify DEW if you intend to undertake clearance activities, for example, along fence lines,” Tim said.

“You can clear native vegetation that has regrown on two conditions — that the vegetation was lawfully cleared within the last five years, and, secondly, that the land will be used for the same purpose as during the past five years. You can do this through a self-assessment on the interactive guide for native vegetation, which first includes considering other practical alternatives to clearing.

“You can clear native vegetation to allow access to maintain an existing fence or establish a new fence. This requires a self-assessment and consideration to limit the clearance only to the extent required to obtain access. This is a maximum of 10 metres wide (or less) for a boundary property fence (maximum five metres each side of the fence), and a maximum of five metres wide (or less) for a dividing fence on a single property with no more than one metre clearance into roadside vegetation (with permission of local council).

“It is best to seek guidance early if you are thinking about clearing vegetation. We have seen a concerning increase in vegetation clearance on Eyre Peninsula recently. This has been detected through satellite and aerial imagery. Such clearances indicate a lack of public awareness that native vegetation is legally protected. It also makes us aware that much needs to be done to improve understanding of the benefits and value native vegetation provides to land managers.

Native vegetation across South Australia is protected by the Native Vegetation Act 1991. It may not be removed from any National Parks, Conservation Parks, Wilderness Protection Areas and reserves in SA, even if the wood is dead or fallen.

For more information, including guidance on managing native vegetation and clearance applications visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/native-vegetation/clearing

To access Interactive Guide for Native Vegetation visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/native-vegetation/interactive-guide

The Native Vegetation Regulations 2017 include a list of activities permitted outside the clearance controls. For more information visit: www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/native-vegetation/legislation-administration

Contact the your local Natural Resources Centre in Port Lincoln (8688 3111) or Ceduna (8625 3144) if you have any questions or concerns with regards to the managing native vegetation.

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More information

Communications and Engagement Officer

(08) 8688 3111

DEW.NREPAdmin@sa.gov.au