Tips for purchasing small rural landholdings

Page last updated: Thursday, 17 May 2018 - 1:46pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Help for new landholders managing a small property

DAFWA's website houses information to assist you to manage a small property, whilst caring for the environment and for your plants and animals.

This information can be found by searching Small Landholders in Western Australia and is designed to help new landholders settle into their role as property managers, improve networks with other landholders and also learn about sustainable rural property management.

Webpages provide information on a range of topics including property planning, animal and pasture care, environmental management and how you can be better prepared for natural disasters such as fire and drought.

There are many options to consider regarding what you could grow on your land and how you can manage your property to support a healthy environment. Whether you use your land for your home as part of a rural lifestyle, a weekender, or as a piece of paradise to retire to, there are important legal obligations and responsibilities you need to be aware of.

As a land manager you have to care for your property in a way that protects the land and environment, takes care of the health and safety of your animals and promotes the quality of your crops and pasture. Of course, you also need to look after your own health and safety.

Additional information

General and specific information about many rural activities is available on the internet. For example at the DAFWA Small Landholders in Western Australia webpage.

Agricultural chemical use — Refer to manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) before use. This information is available on the chemical manufacturer’s websites.

Climate — The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has comprehensive climate information on areas throughout the state. This is accessible through their websites bom.gov.au.

Contaminated sites — Search the Department of Environment Regulation database to determine if a property is registered as a contaminated site.

Crown land including road sides — Department of Parks and Wildlife, local government authority, Main Roads or Brookfield Rail.

Cultural heritage — Local government authorities have a municipal heritage listing, there is also state and national heritage lists accessible from the National Trust and the Heritage Council of Australia.

Employment law — When employing contractors you must provide insurance and a safe working environment. For some types of work you, or a contractor, are required to show a ‘Blue Card’ — more information from the Department of Commerce.

Farm forestry — There is a variety of farm forestry schemes and carbon off-set benefits from planting trees. Information can be obtained from the Forest Products Commission fpc.wa.gov.au, or Department of Climate Change website climatechange.gov.au. More information is also available from Australian Sandalwood Network sandalwood.org.au or tree planting organisations for example Avongro.

Farm safety — Responsibilities to self, family, visitors, contractors and employees — refer to Farmsafe or Worksafe.

Firearms — Visit your local police station for more information on licensing fees and requirements or the website police.wa.gov.au.

Fire awareness — There are many farm activities which can cause fires, and if the conditions are suitable these can become out-of-control fires and a major catastrophe for the district. Hot exhausts on vehicles being driven through paddocks collect dried grasses, welding and grinding cause sparks to fly and a metal implement scraping across a rock can throw a spark into dry grass. More information can be found at dfes.wa.gov.au.

Fire/bushfire control management — The ranger from your LGA or Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Flora — Native plant identification and location database florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au.

Indigenous significance — You can research if there is any indigenous significance on your property at daa.wa.gov.au.

Issues with neighbours — Local laws and refer to good neighbour policy where provided by LGA.

Livestock and pets — Livestock information and regulations are available from DAFWA offices or website. Pet information and regulations refer to your local government.

Local laws — local government websites.

Movement of plants, plant products, used packages and used agricultural machinery into and within Western Australia — Biosecurity information and regulations are available from DAFWA offices or website agric.wa.gov.au and refer to local laws.

Movement of vehicle bans (during bushfire season) — All LGAs in rural areas have a special number with recorded messages advising the local movement of vehicles in paddocks. This number is included in your rate notices, or is available from your LGA. Record this number and keep it close to your telephone or in your contacts database. There are also regular broadcasts over the radio (both commercial and ABC) of movement of vehicle bans during the bushfire season.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) — When making decisions on landuse it is important to consider the long-term sustainability of these practices. The Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) website has a lot of information regarding soil types, drainage, vegetation, etc for the whole state. The searches can be narrowed down to individual properties or even paddocks.

Pest plants and animals — Biosecurity information and regulations are available from DAFWA offices or website and refer to local laws through the your LGA.

Pollution — To research your responsibilities with regards to contaminated sites contact der.wa.gov.au, if researching processing industry development contact your local government authority and to avoid landfill contamination from used chemical containers recycle through Drummuster. More information is available from your LGA.

Soil — There are many things that affect soil quality including acidity, salinity, acid sulphate, erosion, water repellence, available organic matter and compaction. Information on dealing with these problems can be obtained through DAFWA.

Trees for the farm — What varieties are good as windbreaks, fire retardants or for difficult soil types? More information on this topic can be obtained through DAFWA.

Vehicles — Licensing requirements for tractors, fire units etc can be obtained from Department of Transport transport.wa.gov.au or their local representatives (local government authority). Permit requirements for oversized vehicles through Main Roads Western Australia.

Water — For domestic and stock use, and information on floodplain issues check with the Department of Water website.

Wildlife — Many of our wildlife species are protected. For more information contact Department of Parks and Wildlife. It is also possible to register any remnant vegetation with the Land for Wildlife program.