Tree and Vegetation Management

Approval of some kind is typically required to clear trees, grasses and other vegetation on rural and nonrural properties across NSW. Clearing includes cutting down, felling, thinning, logging, killing, destroying, poisoning, ringbarking, uprooting or burning vegetation. This guide will assist property owners and businesses to understand what approvals are required. If you are planning to remove trees, grasses and other vegetation, please contact the agencies below prior to carrying out any works, as regulatory action and penalties can apply where the removal is unlawful.

Call-Before-You-Clear-Guide-to-Clearing-Trees-Grasses-and-Vegetation-in-the-GMC-LGA-February-2024.pdf(PDF, 222KB)

There are a number of ways that the removal of vegetation is regulated within the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Government Area.

Goulburn Mulwaree Development Control Plan 3.9 Tree & Vegetation Preservation 

To complete a Vegetation Removal Application refer to the Forms page.

Section 3.9 of Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s Development Control Plan provides guidance on the process for obtaining a permit for the removal or pruning of trees and other vegetation on land in the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Government Area.

All trees are declared for the purposes of Part 3 of the Vegetation SEPP unless exempt to the requirement for a permit as set out in Section 3.9.6 and 3.9.7 of this Code, that is trees that are at least 3 metres in height, or have a trunk circumference of 400mm at

ground level or have a crown/branch span of 3 metres diameter or more.

All native vegetation is declared for the purposes of Part 3 of the Vegetation SEPP on land zoned RE1 Public Recreation, C2 Environmental Conservation, C3 Environmental Management, C4 Environmental Living, R5 Large Lot Residential or RU5 Village by the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Environmental Plan 2009, unless exempt to the requirement for a permit set out in Section 3.9.6 and 3.9.7 of this Code.

Vegetation located on a Heritage Item or within a Heritage Conservation Area

Council approval is required if you want to prune or remove vegetation located on your land and the property is located in a Heritage Conservation Area or is an Item of Environmental Heritage.

To find out if your property is a Heritage Listed Item or is located in a Heritage Conservation Area please refer to Clause 5.10 Heritage Conservation and Schedule 5 Environmental Heritage of the Goulburn Mulwaree Local Environmental Plan.

The form can be lodged by post ‘Locked Bag 22, Goulburn NSW 2580 or by email

For enquiries please email or phone (02) 4823 4444 with the following information:

  • Your contact and property details
  • A description of the type of trees and the number of trees to be removed or pruned
  • The reason for requesting removal or pruning
  • Photographs of the vegetation illustrating the issues

If Council Officers are unable to see the vegetation from the street boundary, a Council Officer will contact you to organise a suitable time for a site inspection.

Trees and Neighbours

Trees can unfortunately cause disputes between neighbours for a variety of reasons. Residents often contact Council to express their concerns about a neighbour’s tree in the hope that Council will mediate or resolve the matter by requiring their neighbour to carry out work.

Council does not have the authority to direct a property owner to remove or prune a tree. Council is also unable to mediate between neighbours as it is a civil matter that should be resolved between neighbours or through the Land and Environment Court. Further information can be sourced from the Clerk of the Court at the Goulburn Court House via 1300 679 272 or

For more information see: Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 No 126 (NSW)

Trees on Council owned or managed land

If you have an issue with vegetation located on Council owned or managed land (e.g. street trees) please make a request through Council’s Customer Service team:

  • In person at the Civic Centre, 184-194 Bourke Street, Goulburn
  • Phone Council on 4823 4444
  • Email your request to

State Government Legislation

NSW has a method of managing and assessing proposals to clear native vegetation, this is captured under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. The aim is to facilitate ecologically sustainable development outcomes and to enable effective agricultural land management. It is a risk based approach that encourages landholders to avoid and minimise any potential impacts on biodiversity. Impacts that cannot be avoided are required to be offset.

The removal of native vegetation in NSW is assessed via several differing pathways dependant on the purposes of the clearing and the land zoning to which the clearing applies.  Council is not always the approver when it comes to clearing of vegetation in NSW. In some circumstances Local Land Service or the Native Vegetation Panel may be the approver for clearing of native vegetation.

The Biodiversity assessment and approvals navigator is a useful tool to help you determine the pathway for assessment under the Act.

The Biodiversity Assessment and Approval Pathways flowchart(PDF, 762KB) also provides guidance on the various approval pathways for vegetation clearing.

A list of qualified ecologists that can undertake a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) can be found  here -

Local Land Services

For clearing of native vegetation on rural land that is not associated with a development or development application, please contact NSW Local Land Service by email to or phone (02) 6491 7800.

You can search for your property by using the following link: Local Land Services Regulated Land Map

Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Threshold is a test used to determine when is necessary to engage an accredited assessor to apply the Biodiversity Assessment Method (the BAM) to assess the impacts of a proposal.

It is only used for local developments (development applications submitted to councils) and clearing that does not require development consent in urban areas and areas zoned for environmental conservation (under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017).  

The Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017 sets out threshold levels for when the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme will be triggered. The threshold has two elements:

  • Whether the amount of native vegetation being cleared exceeds a threshold area, or
  • Whether the impacts occur on an area mapped on the Biodiversity Values map published by the Chief Executive of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

If clearing and other impacts exceeds either trigger, the Biodiversity Offset Scheme applies to the proposed development including biodiversity impacts prescribed by clause 6.1 of the Biodiversity Regulation 2017.

If the Biodiversity offsets scheme is not triggered, the test of significance detailed in section 7.3 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 must be used to determine whether a local development is likely to significantly affect threatened species.

Proponents will need to supply evidence relating to the triggers for the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme Threshold and the test of significance when submitting their application to the consent authority. This tool can be used as a guide to decide whether or not you as the proponent (or agent of the proponent) would be required to enter the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

The Biodiversity Values Map and Threshold Tool is available via: Biodiversity Values Map

Information about your property if it is identified as land containing biodiversity values on the Biodiversity Values Map

Landholders can request a Biodiversity Values Map Explanation Report. The report provides detailed information for biodiversity values applicable to a landholding. This includes locations where the biodiversity value is a threatened species and/or community and the species and/or community name.

To request an explanation report contact the Map Review Team at: or by phone on 1800 001 490.

There is no fee for an explanation report and applications are usually completed within fifteen working days.

Requesting a review of the mapped values on a property

You can request a review of the Biodiversity Values Map for your property if you feel a value has been incorrectly mapped. A review may result in an amendment to the map. You will receive a report on the review outcomes. It is recommended that you seek an explanation report describing the biodiversity values on your landholding before requesting a map review.

To request a map review contact the Map Review Team at or by phone on 1800 001 490. There is no fee for a BV Map review.

Development Applications that trigger the Biodiversity Values Map or Clearing Threshold

If your development triggers the Biodiversity Values Map or your clearing exceeds the clearing threshold then a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) is required for your development. BDAR’s must be carried out by an Accredited Assessor. The list of accredited assessors can be found at:

Accredited assessors

Additional Biodiversity Reforms Links: and

Weed Management

Priority weeds do not require a permit for removal. The control methods for Priority weeds are listed on the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment’s ‘’NSW Weed Wise’’ website

Additional information on weed management requirements is available via: Goulburn Mulwaree Council Weeds Management

Rural Fire Service Clearing for asset protection zones

Clearing is permitted for asset protection zones for properties that are identified on the NSW Rural Fire Service online tool 10/50 Vegetation Clearing

The 10/50 Code applies to vegetation adjacent to external walls of:

a) An approved building containing habitable rooms that comprises, or is part of, residential accommodation or a high-risk facility; and

b) An approved building that comprises, or is part of, a farm shed.

The scheme allows people in a designated area to:

  • Clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a building described in a) or b) above, without seeking approval; and
  • Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs (but not trees) on their property within 50 metres of a building described in a) or b) above, without seeking approval.

The 10/50 scheme is supported by the 10/50 Vegetation clearing code of practice.

The Rural Boundary Clearing Code  

The State Government has introduced the Rural Boundary Clearing Code to assist landowners to prevent the spread of bush fires. It allows for vegetation clearing on property boundaries in specified areas. It is accompanied by the Boundary Clearing Tool and a Frequently Asked Questions page.

For more details, visit

Biodiversity Conservation Trust

The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) works with landholders to establish and manage long term conservation areas on private land. We have a number of pathways to achieve this, including voluntary agreements, funded agreements and stewardship sites under the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.

The BCT manages more than 2,000 private land conservation agreements with landholders throughout NSW covering more than 2.1 million hectares. This is about 2.7% of NSW or about a third of the size of National Parks estate.

The BCT provides a unique opportunity to secure long term funding for conservation areas, with funding set aside and managed in trust for all our grants, funded agreements and stewardship sites. To find out more, check out this video, or visit our website:


For enquiries regarding vegetation please contact Council on or phone (02) 4823 4444.