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Native vegetation

Koala in the Wombat state forest. Photo courtesy Wombat Forestcare

A Koala in the Wombat State Forest. Photo courtesy Wombat Forestcare


Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia. In just 150 years we've lost more than half our native bushland. On private land that figure is far worse, with more than 80% of native vegetation cleared.

Protecting and managing the native bushland that's left is the best thing we can do to look after habitat for native plants and animals, including threatened species.


habitat and wildlife

>> Endangered grasslands
>> Riverside protection

The Victorian Government's Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has just released a consultation paper on the review of Victoria's Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Regulations, and is seeking public comment.

Submissions close 5pm, May 9.

This current review follows a weakening of clearing regulations by the previous state government in 2013, which saw:

  • Changing focus from a regional to statewide approach.
  • 'Streamlining' the clearing and permit process.
  • A shift in the intent from one-off 'Net Gain' to 'No Net Loss' in native vegetation.
  • Relying on the provision of native vegetation offsets to make up for clearing.
  • Moved away from valuing Large Old Trees and threatened vegetation communities.
  • Embedded computer modelling and demonstrably-flawed mapping products for fundamental decision making.

How we manage and protect remnant native vegetation is the measure of how we value our environment. We have to make sure these regulations appropriately consider and protect Victoria's habitats, for everyone's future benefit.

While there have been some improvements, Victoria's native vegetation clearing regulations are in need of significant strengthening. We have identified six key gaps in the review:

  • Clearing exemptions: too many, too much.
  • Public authorities need to show leadership.
  • Entire Vegetation Communities are threatened.
  • We need an independent regulator.
  • Not enough funding for compliance and enforcement.
  • The new policy is unmeasurable.

We have produced a submission guide to help inform public responses to the review of native vegetation rules.

This guide is in two parts:



We encourage you to make a submission either as an individual or if you are part of a local conservation group, landcare network or friends group. A group submission is also useful.

Use our resource documents, include other issues or add local examples. Photos also help.


Where to send your submission

Email your response to: Don't forget to include your Name and Postcode.

Register online: Make your submission via the government website >>

Post: Review of the native vegetation clearing regulations
Regulatory Strategy and Design
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
PO Box 500, East Melbourne VIC 8002.


Scientists and community joined forces

In a joint statement 105 ecologists and scientists as well as 70 community-based environment groups from across Victoria stood together in 2013 to express their concern that new regulations will lead to more land clearing and damage threatened species habitat. The new regulations are based on flawed computer models.

The joint statement also called on the State Government to go back to the drawing board and create a system that protects the environment.


State of the Environment Report recognised problems

The joint statement echoes concerns from the Victoria's independent Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, in the 2013 state of the environment report, which recommended the proposed native vegetation regulations be amended.

Download backgrounder


We need your support

Please support our work by making a donation today so that we can fight for stronger native habitat protections.




Mapping issues paper
VNPA submission
VNPA summary & recommendations


Background info

Reconnecting the landscape
VEAC report
Habitat trends
Proposed changes
Victoria's natural equity


Rich in habitat

Victoria has around 3000 species of native plants and trees which form over 300 habitat types. All of which are home to 700 types of native animals, not to mention thousands of varieties of invertebrates and fungi.

Victoria is the most cleared state in Australia. After 150 years of land clearing, invasive feral species, the carve-up of habitats, and now the escalating impact of climate change, our natural habitats are on their knees.

On private land alone eight out of every 10 hectares of native plants are gone.

Around the Riverina, Wimmera, the Volcanic Plains and part of the Mallee 84% of the native vegetation is gone.

Around the Melbourne region, we've lost about 71% from private and public land.

VEAC native vegetation report


Money really does grow on trees

Native vegetation is not just a home for animals, it provides a whole range of services to our communities, including clean water, protecting soils, storing carbon, helping with pollination and providing people with inspiration and interest in the landscape.

Various studies have indentified that these services are worth many millions of dollars.

Find out more


State of Decline: Habitat Trends and Native Vegetation in Victoria  Reconnecting the landscape
VEAC native vegetation report