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Land management framework – What other approvals may be required?

Obtaining other approvals

Certain types of clearing do not require approval under the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act).

However clearing may require approval from other organisations. Approvals under other legislation may also be required where a code compliant certificate or clearing approval is issued under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

This fact sheet includes legislation that may affect clearing activities and it outlines where to obtain further information. Local Land Services staff can assist you in understanding what other approvals may be required for your proposed activities under the new Land Management Framework.

It is the landholder’s responsibility to obtain any other approvals that may be required prior to undertaking clearing.

NSW State Government approvals

Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

Approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is not required for clearing of native vegetation on Category 1 – exempt land, other than:

  • clearing by a person that harms an animal, where the person knew the clearing would be likely to harm the animal, and
  • clearing by a person that damages the habitat of an animal that is (or is part of) a threatened species or threatened ecological community where the person knew the clearing was likely to damage the habitat.

Approval under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is not required for clearing of native vegetation on Category 2 – regulated land that is:

  • an allowable activity under the Local Land Services Act, or
  • authorised by the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018, or
  • authorised by an approval from the Native Vegetation Panel, under the Local Land Services Act, or
  • authorised or required in relation to a set aside under the Local Land Services Act.

If an approval is required under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, in most cases that approval will be a biodiversity conservation licence, which may be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

Further information is available online on the OEH website or contact OEH on 131 555.

Crown Lands Act 1989

If your property includes Crown land (for example a Crown road subject to an enclosure permit), any proposed clearing is subject to the conditions of the Crown land lease, licence or permit.

You may require approval from Crown Lands for clearing on nominated crown land. Consult Department of Industry (Crown Lands) on 1300 886 235 before you start work.

Landholders planning to clear native vegetation and carry out cultivation on a Western Lands Lease in the Western Division of NSW may require a cultivation permit or approval under the Western Lands Act 1901.

Application forms for permits are available from Crown Lands offices. To find the nearest Crown Lands office, call 1300 886 235.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

The Land Management Framework does not apply in urban zones, environmental conservation zones and R5 large lot residential zones of NSW.  Instead, State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 (Urban vegetation SEPP) will apply in these areas.

However, certain clearing under the Native Vegetation Act 2003, including for routine agricultural management activities, which is currently permitted in environmental zones and R5 large lot residential zones will continue to be permitted under the Urban Vegetation SEPP.  Such clearing may only be used on agricultural properties and only until 25 August 2018.

For more information about the Urban Vegetation SEPP, contact Department of Planning and Environment on 1300 305 695.

For activities that require development consent under a Local Environmental Plans or a SEPP, or which require an approval under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, the Land Management Framework does not apply.

Any clearing which forms part of that activity will be considered as part of the development application. For information about what activities require development consent, contact your local Council.

Forestry Act 2012

The Land Management Framework does not apply in State Forests or Timber Reserves declared under the Forestry Act 2012.

Further information is available online at the Forestry Corporation website or contact the Forestry Corporation on 02 9872 0111.

Timber harvesting on a private property for the purposes of Private Native Forestry (PNF) will require approval through a PNF Plan, issued by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) under the Forestry Act 2012.

However, timber obtained from clearing that is permitted under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 may be sold without the need for a PNF Plan.

The framework for PNF is being reviewed following implementation of the Land Management Framework. To find out more about PNF, contact a local EPA forestry office. Contact details can be found at  http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/pnf/officelocations.htm

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 may apply if there are Aboriginal objects in the area proposing to be cleared. Aboriginal objects include:

  • physical objects, such as stone tools, Aboriginal-built fences and stockyards, scarred trees and the remains of fringe camps
  • material deposited on the land, such as middens
  • the ancestral remains of Aboriginal people.

You will need to exercise due diligence in accordance with the Due Diligence Code of Practice for the Protection of Aboriginal Objects in NSW in determining whether your actions will harm Aboriginal objects. OEH staff may be able to assist you to exercise due diligence in relation to Aboriginal objects.

Further information, including how to undertake a basic online search of the Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) database to identify any known records on or near the proposed clearing site can be found on the OEH website.

If you are unable to modify your proposed activity to avoid an impact on Aboriginal objects, you will need to apply for an Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit.

Further information is available online on the OEH website or contact OEH on 131 555.

Rural Fires Act 1997

The Rural Fires Act 1997 regulates management burns. Landholders clearing native vegetation using management burning should consult with the local Fire Brigade Captain or Fire Control Officer before burning.

The landholder may need to obtain a permit or undertake burning at a certain time. Further information on permits can be found on the Rural Fire Service website.

Surveying and Spatial Information Act 2002

It is illegal to remove or otherwise damage any survey mark unless authorised by the Surveyor General. Survey marks include blazed trees.

You can find out if there are survey marks on your property by contacting the Survey Services section of Land and Property Information on 1300 052 637.

Water Management Act 2000

A ‘controlled activity approval’ may be required from Water NSW for activities within 40 metres from the bank of any river, lake or estuary. Approvals are needed where the activity will cause more than minimal impact.

Further information is available online at the Water NSW website or by calling 1800 353 104

Offsets and conservation covenants

Clearing under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018 may not be carried out if the land is subject to an offset under a Property Vegetation Plan (PVP) or a set aside under a previous Code, or a remediation direction. Use of the Code is also excluded where the land is secured by a conservation covenant under other legislation.

These types of land are to be mapped as category 2-sensitive regulated land and so should be easily visible to landholders.

If you are unsure if there is a PVP on the land you should check with Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Records of remediation directions are held by OEH on 131 555.

Information about other conservation covenants that are recorded on title can be obtained from Land and Property Information on 1300 052 637.

Commonwealth Government approvals

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Commonwealth)

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) requires referral of activities that may impact on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES). Actions that have a significant impact on MNES may require approval from the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. For landholders, the key MNES are:

  • nationally threatened and migratory species
  • nationally threatened ecological communities
  • wetlands of international importance (Ramsar)
  • world and national heritage properties.

Actions that are likely to trigger a referral are those that are new land clearing with a likely significant impact on one of the MNES. Allowable Activities under the Local Land Services Act 2013 are very unlikely to trigger the need for referral under the EPBC Act.

For certain clearing under the Equity Part of the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2018, Local Land Services must be reasonably satisfied by the landholder that EPBC Act approval is not required for the clearing.  For clearing under other parts of the Code, LLS will provide assistance to landholders but landholders should make their own enquiries about whether an EPBC Act is required.

Further information about the EPBC Act is available online on the Department of Environment and Energy website.

If you are unsure you can call the Australian Department of the Environment on 1800 110 395.

More information contact Local Land Services on 1300 778 080, email slm.info@lls.nsw.gov.au or contact your local LLS office.