Native vegetation clearing permit fees – frequently asked questions

Answers to frequently asked questions on native vegetation clearing permit fees.
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What will I be charged?

New permits

Regulation 7 of the Environmental Protection (Clearing of Native Vegetation) Regulations 2004 (the Clearing Regulations) sets out the application fees for new clearing permits. See a summary of these fees in the table below. 

The purpose permit component of the fee is on top of the application fee. The application fee is based on application area (in hectares) and the location of the clearing (intensive or extensive land use zone).

Permit Area / purpose permit application area (hectares) Intensive land -use zone Extensive land-use zone Purpose permit component fee
Not more than 1 ha $400.00 $400.00 Add $2,000.00
More than 1 ha but not more than 5 ha $600.00 $600.00
More than 5 ha but not more than 10 ha $1,500.00 $750.00
More than 10 ha but not more than 50 ha $2,000.00 $1,000.00
More than 50 ha but not more than 100 ha $3,000.00 $1,500.00
More than 100 ha but not more than 500 ha $4,000.00 $2,000.00
More than 500 ha but not more than 1,000 ha $5,000.00 $2,500.00
More than 1,000 ha $10,000.00 $5,000.00

Map 1 shows what areas are within the intensive and extensive land use zones. 

Note that if only part of a larger area of land is to be cleared, you should use the amount of actual clearing to calculate the application fee. For example, if you are clearing 4 hectares out of a total area of 12 hectares, the application fee is based on the 4 hectares.

We have developed a native vegetation clearing permit fee calculator tool to help you work out your application fee.

Map 1 – Extensive and intensive land use zones

Amendments and surrenders

Fees for applications to amend or surrender an existing clearing permit are also prescribed under regulation 7 of the Clearing Regulations. See the table below for these fees.

Type of existing permit     Type of application Fee
Area permit Amendment that would not increase the area covered by the permit $50.00
Amendment that would increase the area covered by the permit by less than 1 ha $50.00
Amendment that would increase the area covered by the permit by between 1 ha and 10 ha $100.00
Amendment that would increase the area covered by the permit by more than 10 ha $200.00
Purpose permit Any amendment to a purpose permit $200.00
Any Any application to surrender a permit $5.00

Clearing referrals and transfers

You do not have to pay a fee to refer a proposed clearing activity to us for a decision on whether a clearing permit applies. However, if we decide your clearing proposal requires a permit, and you apply for one, you must pay the appropriate fee for a new permit application (see above).

You do not have to pay a fee when you apply to transfer an existing area permit after a transfer of land ownership (you cannot transfer purpose permits).

I submitted a clearing referral and was advised that I needed a permit. When do I need to pay the application fee? Do I need to submit a fresh application?

If we decide you need a permit for the proposed clearing activity in your referral, or if 21 calendar days has passed since you submitted the referral, you have the option to ask us (in writing) to treat your referral as a permit application.

We will then ask you to pay the appropriate permit application fee.

For further information on clearing referrals and how they fit into the clearing permit assessment process, see the Guideline: Native vegetation clearing referrals and Procedure: Native vegetation clearing permits.

Why do purpose permits have an additional ‘purpose component fee’?

Purpose permits allow the clearing of different areas from time to time for a purpose specified in the application. Some types of organisations that need this type of permit include local governments, government agencies, mining companies and utilities (e.g. roads, railways, gas, water, power).

The purpose permit fee component recognises that purpose permit applications can be more complex to assess and administer for the life of the permit.

Why are fees based on intensive land use zone and extensive land use zone?

The intensive land use zone is managed for intensive agricultural activities in the state’s south-west. This zone defines the easternmost extent of land cleared for agricultural purposes.

Past clearing in this zone has created a more complex set of environmental issues including salinity, threatened species and communities, and land degradation. This means that assessment of clearing applications generally requires a greater level of scrutiny compared with permits in the extensive land use zone.

What if an application area is within both the intensive and extensive land use zones?

The application fee for the intensive land use zone will apply if the native vegetation in the application is located within both zones.

What if I do not know which land use zone my permit’s area falls into?

We have developed a native vegetation clearing permit fee calculator tool to help you determine which land use zone your application area falls into and, as a result, what your application fee will be.

Who pays the new fees?

Any person or business that applies to clear native vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 must pay the application fee.

Can I pay in instalments?

There is no option to pay in instalments.

Fees for new clearing permit applications are due when you apply. We cannot accept your application if you do not pay the fee. Applications without fees will be returned to the applicant.

What if my application is refused, withdrawn, or no clearing occurs? Will I be eligible for a refund?

You may withdraw your clearing permit application at any time during the validation or assessment stages and request a refund of your application fee. A withdrawal request must be made in writing. We will consider your request and make a determination (including the amount to be refunded, if applicable) on a case-by-case basis.

We will not refund the application fee when we refuse to grant a permit, or when we grant a permit but no clearing occurs.

For further information, please see the department’s Guideline: Clearing permit application fee refunds, waivers and reductions.

If I pay for an offset, do I still need to pay for the assessment?

Yes. The two payments are for different purposes.

The application fee is to help recover the cost to administer and assess your clearing permit application. If your clearing activity will result in significant residual environmental impacts, we will put a condition on your permit for an offset to counterbalance those impacts. We follow the WA Environmental Offsets Policy and WA Environmental Offsets Guidelines when we set any offsets you must pay for.

When were fees last changed?

The fees for clearing native vegetation were last changed in July 2019. Before then, the fees had not changed since the clearing provisions in the EP Act and related regulations began in 2004.

More information about the changes to clearing permit fees made in 2019 can be found in the Consultation summary report – Discussion paper on cost recovery for clearing permit applications.