Thinking of purchasing a rural property?
05 Oct 2021
If you are considering buying rural land in the Central West or Central Tablelands region of NSW and wish to clear native vegetation, there are a few steps worth considering in your decision making.
Determine the land zoning of the property, as this will impact which agency or Local Government that will assess your proposal. This can be viewed at www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/spatialviewer. For land that is zoned Rural, contact your nearest Local Land Service office. For non-rural land, you should initially contact your local council for advice regarding vegetation management. The construction of buildings, sheds, irrigation infrastructure or other major projects, may require you to apply for a development application (DA) with your local council. This information can be found in each Council’s Local Environmental Plan or contact your local Council directly.
Clarify whether any sensitive or vulnerable conservation values have been identified on the property. These land categories can be viewed across NSW in the publicly available Native Vegetation Regulatory Map which can be found at https://www.lmbc.nsw.gov.au/Maps/index.html?viewer=NVRMap. Vulnerable land is land that is steep or highly erodible or protected riparian land. Sensitive land is land identified in the Local Land Services Regulation 2014 as being of high conservation value. Both these categories can have conditions where some or all clearing is not permitted.
Utilising the Land Management Framework
Any clearing that is proposed on Category 2 regulated land may require approval from LLS. The categories of exempt and regulated land can affect your clearing proposal. For example, if you have less than 10% regulated native vegetation on your landholding and further clearing is proposed, set asides are mandatory and half of those will have to be revegetated on exempt land. Please contact your local Land Management representative for assistance with the options under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018.
What native vegetation can I remove without an approval?
For removal of native vegetation on rural zoned land, there are some instances and activities that do not require approval from LLS. These include:
- Category 1 exempt land:
- Land cleared of native vegetation as at 1 January 1990 or lawfully cleared after 1 January 1990
- Low conservation grasslands
- Land containing only low conservation groundcover (not being grasslands)
- Native vegetation identified as regrowth in a Property Vegetation Plan under the repealed Native Vegetation Act 2003
- Land bio-certified under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016
- Regrowth: Native trees and shrubs that have regrown since 1 Jan 1990 that were previously cleared or were lawfully cleared between 1 January 1990 and 25 August 2017.
- Allowable activities: day-to-day land management activities associated with agriculture and other common practices in rural areas are referred to as “allowable activities”. For more detailed advice refer to the 'Allowable activities for landholders' and ‘Allowable activities relating to rural infrastructure fact sheets at the LLS website. Management activities for native vegetation on small holdings (landholdings less than 10ha) may be limited.
Land title search
Undertake a land title search yourself through an authorised provider or contact your solicitor to undertake the appropriate checks. This is an important step to identify any lease arrangement or encumbrances on the land title. You should always seek independent legal advice to determine if there are any enduring obligations or encumbrances over the land. If you believe there is Crown land present within the landholding, contact NSW Crown Lands www.industry.nsw.gov.au/lands.
Clarify if any other approvals may be required under other legislation. Approvals under other NSW and Commonwealth laws may also be required for native vegetation management. Refer to the 'Obtaining other approvals - managing native vegetation' fact sheet at www.lls.nsw.gov.au/slm. The main scenarios that could require outside consultation are when threatened species or communities may be impacted. It is a good idea to become familiar with the types of trees and other vegetation on the property and discover if they form part of a threatened ecological community.
Happy property hunting!
Your contacts in the Central Region are:
Matt Lane – Team Leader based at Dubbo. 0458 180 981 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Beau Palmer – Senior Land Services Officer based at Orange - 0448 399 324 or email@example.com
Sarah Crain - Senior Land Services Officer based at Orange – 0409 889 413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jemma Davis – Senior Land Services Officer based at Forbes – 0438 617 228 or email@example.com
Paul Nicholls – Senior Land Services Officer based at Forbes – 0428 973 194 or firstname.lastname@example.org
David Scadding - Senior Land Services Officer based at Gilgandra – 0427 004 747 or email@example.com
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