Native vegetation removal
The term Native vegetation refers to plants that are indigenous to Victoria and includes trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses. Native vegetation provides habitat for plants and animals and delivers a range of ecosystem services that we all rely on.
Native vegetation is protected in Victoria, and the mechanism for protection is found in section 52.17 of the Murrindindi Planning Scheme. Unauthorised clearance of native vegetation is illegal and offenders may be prosecuted under the Planning and Environment Act 1987.
If you wish to remove native vegetation on your property (including lopping, trimming or pruning of standing trees), you may need to apply for a permit through Council. There are some exemptions and a call to a Council Planning Officer can determine if an exemption applies to you.
Be aware that what your neighbour can do on their property may be very different to what is permitted on your property. Before removing, destroying or lopping native vegetation, you should contact Council to discuss your needs on (03) 5772 0333.
You can also find more information about the rules regarding native vegetation in Victoria at environment.vic.gov.au/native-vegetation/native-vegetation
Vegetation removal for bushfire prevention
If your property/dwelling falls within a Bushfire Management Overlay, the planning provisions allow for a range of approved measures for bushfire protection. This includes allowances for creating defendable space (i.e. removal of vegetation under specified clearance rules).
Bushfire protection can also be achieved through other means such as the way you site and construct your dwelling, the way adjoining land is managed and the level of access to water supply and roads.
To find out if your property is in a Bushfire Management Overlay, visit planning.vic.gov.au
Think before you remove! If you are not sure about what your legal requirements are, please contact Council on (03) 5772 0333.
Bushfire prevention activities
Although rural areas are more likely to be impacted by bushfires, it's important that owners of residential and industrial land also take the time to prepare their properties in advance of the warmer weather. We all have a responsibility to manage our properties to minimise the risk of bushfire.
Property owners should have their initial fire prevention activities completed by mid-November. While we recognise that the rate of vegetation growth varies with the different weather and rainfall patterns across our Shire, as a guide, we suggest the following schedule to help you plan your fire prevention work at your property.
Late October - inspect your property. Spring weather provides ideal growing conditions for grass, which needs to be mowed. In residential areas, remove all grass, stubble, weeds and leaf litter to ensure a height of less that 7.5 cm (3 inches). In rural areas, consider grazing stock in areas closer to your house or slashing a 6 metre firebreak.
November - re-inspect your property for growth and other fire hazards. Re-cut grass or increase grazing as required.
December - March - frequently inspect and maintain your property during these high-risk months. Don't forget to exercise caution when using machinery (mowers etc.) on hot and dry days.
General vegetation management
When managing vegetation on your property, keep the following things in mind
- Choose an area that is manageable
- Vegetation management isn’t just about cutting grass or pruning trees and shrubs. It also may include weed control, erosion works and fencing
- Indigenous plants are preferred as they have the best chance of surviving the climatic and soil conditions of the shire. Plant shrubs as well as trees and plan for native grasses if you can as they generally have a lower fuel load than exotic grasses and provide higher biodiversity value
- Seek local advice. There are a number of local nurseries in the region that can provide information on which species grow well in different situations
Managing vegetation on Council owned land
If you believe that trees or vegetation need better management on Council owned land, please complete and submit a customer request form or contact Council on (03) 5772 0333.