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2. Planning approvals

There are a number of ‘approvals’ that landholders may need to obtain as part of undertaking irrigation system upgrades on their property.

These permits or approvals relate to:

  1. Earthworks
  2. Native vegetation removal/clearing or any impacts to native vegetation
  3. Works within Cultural Heritage Protection zones.


Landholders must discuss their proposed works with their local council to establish the requirements for approval of works before undertaking any earthworks. Earthworks on rural land must be planned and approved so that works completed on one property don’t cause problems for another property. Any changes must align with the Regional Catchment Strategy and meet local planning requirements.

Examples of earthworks include:

– Land-forming/laser grading

– Construction of laneways

– Construction of farm channels or drains

– Construction of above or below ground water storages.

There are costs associated with obtaining approval. One of the best ways to plan for earthworks is to develop a Whole Farm Plan for the property. Within the local government areas of Greater Shepparton Council, Moira Shire Council and Campaspe Shire Council, Whole Farm Plans can be submitted to council to apply for approval. If the earthworks are approved by Council and referral authorities, there is no need to go back to Council and apply for individual permits when earthworks are carried out (as long as all earthworks are carried out according to the ‘approved’ plan).

Native vegetation

Native vegetation provides habitat for plants and animals and delivers a range of ecosystem services that make land more productive (e.g. shade and shelter, pollination and, improved stock health) and contribute to human wellbeing (e.g. aesthetics, oxygen production, and carbon sequestration). Landholders are supported through the Whole Farm Planning process to understand both the legal requirements of Victoria’s native vegetation regulations, as well as voluntary revegetation and protection opportunities.

Native Vegetation Regulations

In Victoria, a permit is usually (exemptions may apply) required to remove, destroy or lop native vegetation (living and dead trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses) under the native vegetation removal regulations. Guidelines for the removal, destruction or lopping of native vegetation (the Guidelines, 2017) outline how native vegetation removal is assessed (required to be undertaken by an accredited assessor). Any application for a removal permit, must be submitted to Council for approval. Permits are separate to earthworks (WFP), and must be granted (including meeting conditions) prior to works. Applications can take time, and approval is not automatic. Any proposed native vegetation removal, should be carefully considered during the early planning stage of a farm development.

Revegetation and protection opportunities

Protection and enhancement of remnant vegetation (e.g. fencing remnants), and revegetation works (e.g. corridors for shade and shelter breaks), provide significant opportunities to value add to a whole farm plan. There are multiple benefits to landholders incorporating native vegetation (remnants, wetlands, grasslands and plantations) on their property. Ask your whole farm plan officer for further information on how native vegetation could be incorporated on your whole farm plan and if there are any existing opportunities for support (e.g. financial incentives/species lists).

For further information about revegetation and protection opportunities please contact:

Goulburn Broken CMA
(03) 5822 7700
North Central CMA
(03) 5448 7124

Contact your council planner beforehand to confirm if a native vegetation planning permit is required:

Greater Shepparton City Council
(03) 5832 8730
Campaspe Shire Council
(03) 5481 2200
Moira Shire Council
(03) 5871 9222
Gannawarra Shire Council
(03) 5450 9533
Loddon Shire Council
(03) 5494 1200
Swan Hill Rural City Council
(03) 5036 2333

Cultural Heritage

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018 provide for the protection and management of Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage and is linked to the Victorian Planning Provisions. Protecting sites of Aboriginal cultural significance is important and the legislation provides protection for all Aboriginal places, objects and human remains regardless of their inclusion on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register or whether they are located on public or private land. Whole Farm Plans provide the opportunity to identify any issues and discuss alternative options to ensure the protection of cultural heritage. 

For further information contact:

Agriculture Victoria Irrigation Officers
Kerang – (03) 5473 0180
Echuca – (03) 5482 1922
Tatura – (03) 5833 5222

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