Native vegetation includes all plants that are indigenous to Victoria, including trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. This includes areas of bushland with trees, scattered paddock trees, and treeless areas of scrub or grassland. In fact, some of the rarest or threatened vegetation types such as native grasslands, and wetlands do not include trees at all. All native vegetation is protected in Victoria.
It can be difficult for people who are not trained botanists, horticulturalists or natural resource managers to identify areas of native vegetation that does not include trees. A person would be required to be skilled at identifying indigenous plant species, particularly when they are not flowering and also understand that some plants are only visible during certain times of the year.
Removing native vegetation
All native vegetation is protected in Victoria. A Planning Permit is required if you want to remove, lop or destroy native vegetation. There are some limited exemptions from the requirement to obtain a Planning Permit. If you think you may need to remove, lop or destroy native vegetation, contact Council to check that you do not require a permit. Do not damage, destroy or remove native vegetation dead or alive on your property before contacting Council, as penalties and costly remediation works can apply.
Detailed guidance on native vegetation removal from the State Government can be found in the Guide to Exemptions.
Guide to exemptions
You can also see the detailed information held at the Department for Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) website.
Some of our native plants and vegetation communities are listed as rare and threatened due to habitat loss by land clearing, grazing by stock and competition by pest plants. Rare and threatened plant species are protected under State legislation (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) and Federal legislation (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). Heavy penalties apply to people that deliberately damage or destroy rare and threatened plant species and their floristic communities.