Vegetation Management on Private Land in the SMCMA
The Native Vegetation Act 2003 came into force in NSW in December 2005 and introduced a new approach to the management of native vegetation across NSW.
The Act aims to prevent broadscale clearing in NSW unless it can be demonstrated that it will improve or maintain environmental outcomes. It aims to prevent land degradation such as erosion and salinity, protect native vegetation of high conservation value, and to protect water quality and biodiversity.
In general, any clearing approved under the Act must be offset by improving the condition of another area of native vegetation of the same or similar type on your property.
What areas does the Act apply to?
The Act applies to all areas of NSW except National Parks and other conservation areas, State Forests and urban areas. In the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority region, this means that the Act only applies to non urban areas of the Wollongong and Wollondilly Council areas. (Refer to Part 3 of Schedule 1 of the Native Vegetation Act 2003 for further clarification)
For other areas of Sydney, approval to remove native vegetation may be required under other legislation including your Council’s Local Environmental Plan and the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. For these areas, landholders must seek advice from their local Council.
What is the role of the SMCMA?
CMAs are responsible for applying the regulations of the Act and supporting landowners in managing native vegetation on their properties. The process of assessing the values of native vegetation and the impacts of clearing on the environment are done through the development of a Property Vegetation Plan (PVPs). This is a voluntary, binding agreement between the landholder and the CMA.
What should you do?
If you are considering clearing native vegetation on your property in non-urban areas of either Wollongong or Wollondilly local government areas, you are advised to contact the Sydney Metropolitan CMA first to determine whether approval is required. Where clearing does require approval, landholders may apply to the CMA for a Property Vegetation Plan (PVP) or make an application for Development Consent through their local Council.
Contact the SMCMA 9895 7898 for more information on the Native Vegetation Act or discuss your vegetation management needs with CMA staff.
More information on native vegetation management in NSW, the Native Vegetation Act, and PVP’s is available through DECCW: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/vegetation/nvmanagement.htm
For more general information on vegetation and biodiversity in the Sydney Metropolitan region visit our Facts page.