Land management in NSW

In NSW there are a range of land management activities you can do as part of the Land Management and Biodiversity Framework.

The Land Management Framework describes those aspects that relate to native vegetation management on rural land.

Local Land Services is here to help you with your land management options.

Who is my consent authority?

Prior to undertaking any native vegetation management, including clearing on your property, it is important to check if approval is required.

Assessment and approval pathways for clearing native vegetation will depend on the purpose, nature, location and extent of the clearing.

If you require a development approval or you are not sure if you require a development approval for clearing native vegetation, contact your local council to discuss your proposal. Some agricultural activities may require development approval.

If a development approval is not required and the proposed activity is on rural zoned land (under the local council's Local Environment Plan) and you are proposing to undertake agricultural activities, come talk to us about your proposal.

Note: Rural land is defined as land zoned as RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6 and deferred matters. RU5 is considered not to be rural land.

If your proposed activity is on an area zoned as non-rural (e.g. urban, peri-urban, environmental zones) under a local council's Local Environmental Plan) you need to talk to your local council for further advice.

What type of rural land do I have?

Your options for managing native vegetation on your property are determined by the category of your land. Rural land in NSW is categorised into:

  • Exempt land (Category 1)
  • Regulated land (Category 2)
  • Excluded land (Category 3).

Find out more about land categories.

View the Native Vegetation Regulatory map here.

What can I do without approval?

If your land is ‘exempt’ (Category 1), and therefore unregulated, you can remove native vegetation so long as you do not knowingly harm an animal or damage the habitat of an animal that is a threatened species or part of a threatened ecological community

If your land is regulated (Category 2) you can undertake a range of allowable activities which are routine land management activities associated with agriculture and other common practices in rural zoned areas. Find out more about allowable activities.

What other options do I have for managing native vegetation?

If you don’t meet the requirements for clearing vegetation without approval you have options under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018.

The level of approval required depends on the impact of the proposed activity. Before you start any activity, you will either need to notify Local Land Services or seek approval from us.

There are five parts of the Code which facilitate different types of land management and clearing activities :

  • Invasive native species – enables the removal of invasive native species that have reached unnatural densities and dominate an area. These activities are to promote the regeneration and regrowth of native vegetation.
  • Pasture expansion – enables the removal of woody native vegetation by uniform or mosaic thinning to promote native pastures and increase farm efficiency and productivity.
  • Continuing use – enables the continuation of lawful land management activities that have been in place between 1990 and 25 August, 2017
  • Equity – enables the removal of paddock trees, compromised native groundcover, and native vegetation from small areas and regulated rural land
  • Farm plan – enables the removal of paddock tree areas and clearing regulated rural land in exchange for set aside areas containing vegetation or set aside areas where revegetation will be required.

Your local Local Land Services officer can help you work through the Code options on your farm and do a field inspection to help identify best practice options.

It’s important to note that the Code does not apply on some sensitive land types including critically endangered habitat. In the coastal zone, you can only apply the code if your primary land use is agricultural.

What if I can’t use the options under the Code or allowable activities?

You can contact the Native Vegetation Panel which is set up to determine applications to clear native vegetation in:

What are my options for Private Native Forestry?

At Local Land Services, we’re responsible for private native forestry advice and approvals.

Will I need other approvals?

Some types of land management activities require you to obtain other NSW or Commonwealth government approvals.

It is your responsibility as the landholder to obtain any other approvals that may be required before undertaking clearing.

Find out what other approvals may be required.

Contact a Local Land Services officer for advice.

What if I want to protect the vegetation on my property?

Your Local Land Services office can put you in contact with local staff and community organisations who can advise on how to best protect your native vegetation.

Look up your Local Land Services office.

Find out more about natural resource management.

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust also offers support for native vegetation management through landholder agreements.

What other land management help can I get?

Related information