Protecting Native Vegetation

Cleaning up or building on your property? Careful—that native vegetation may be protected.

Maintaining a property requires all sorts of different tasks – but we urge residents to contact Council before removing or trimming any native vegetation.

Native vegetation includes trees, shrubs and even grasses and herbs on the ground. And in the Australian environment can look “messy” – this is perfectly natural. Healthy native vegetation may have a mix of leaf litter, mosses, grass tussocks, trees and shrubs of various sizes. 

In fact, some of the most rare or threatened vegetation types do not include trees at all, such as native grasslands, wetlands and alpine regions.   

A guide to native flora of the Macedon Ranges

We have prepared a guide to the native flora of the Macedon Ranges(PDF, 11MB)  which is an introduction to our local plant species.

The guide includes many of the common species that occur on private land and may help you determine whether your vegetation is native.

In Victoria, native vegetation removal is regulated through the state and local planning system. These plants may be protected by any number of planning controls – including significant landscape, environmental significance, vegetation protection and heritage overlays.

There may also be agreements or covenants on land titles relating to vegetation protection, and triggers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Is a permit required?

If you are unsure whether your actions involving native vegetation require a permit, call us to discuss, or fill in the online form below – it could save you time and money down the track. 

Some examples of property clean-up that may require a permit include:

  • Using heavy machinery to clean up fallen trees: if property clean-up exposes the soil you may be damaging the native vegetation.
  • Clearing away understory to sow grass under trees.
  • Any tree or shrub removal.

Our planning staff can help you determine if you need a permit, what to include in your application and if we need to visit your property. Contact us on (03) 5422 0333 or fill in our online form and we'll call you to discuss.

In the photo below, native vegetation has been destroyed on the right side of the road. Note the bright green colour of the introduced grasses, and the lack of leaf litter and shrubs. This kind of property / roadside clean up definitely requires a phone call to Council as may be illegal. 

cleared roadside

Vegetation Protection

We have a responsibility to retain and protect our natural landscapes, to enhance biodiversity and to retain the semi-rural character of our townships. Throughout the shire, a diversity of tree species occur of varying ages including ancient eucalypts and early settler plantings, all of which contribute to the shire’s natural and cultural values.

Always contact Council prior to undertaking any tree works or prior to developing site plans to discuss what approvals are required and how negative impacts can be avoided.

For more information, contact our Environment Unit on (03) 5422 0333 or at