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Clearing of native vegetation is prohibited unless a clearing permit is granted by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) or the clearing is for an exempt purpose.
Australia is one of the world's seventeen centres of 'mega-diversity' of plants and animals. The south west of Western Australia is known as one of the world's thirty four biodiversity "hotspots" with some of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on earth. In some areas of the state, such as the Avon-Wheatbelt bioregion, ninety three percent of native vegetation has already been cleared. Clearing of native vegetation and consequential salinity are having a devastating effect on biodiversity through the direct loss of plant species, and the associated loss of mammals, birds and other animals which depend upon areas of bush for food and shelter.
Legislation proclaimed on 8 July 2004 protects all native vegetation in Western Australia. Clearing native vegetation is prohibited, unless a clearing permit is granted by the Department of Environment Regulation, or the clearing is for an exempt purpose. These exemptions ensure that low impact day to day activities involving clearing can be undertaken. People who wish to clear are required to submit an application if an exemption does not apply. This will be assessed against principles which consider biodiversity, land degradation and water quality.
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) is responsible for administering the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and Regulations that protect native vegetation. Applications for Clearing Permits are assessed by the Department and decisions are made to approve or reject the proposal in line with the Act.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with input from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation – maintains a dataset representing the remaining extent of native vegetation in Western Australia. This information raises awareness of legislation and regulations to protect native vegetation on sites where vegetation remains.
Those intending to develop a site by clearing native vegetation should undertake their own due diligence to ensure no native vegetation remains on the site before undertaking any on-ground works.
For more information on Clearing Permits for Native Vegetation contact DPIRD on (08) 6467 5000 or see www.der.wa.gov.au/our-work/clearing-permits/46-clearing-permit-application-forms.
For more information regarding the Native Vegetation registered on your property please contact DPIRD Geographic Information Services on (08) 9368 3925 or see our web site www.agric.wa.gov.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.