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Cutting your Tree

Rules that govern cutting your tree in Australia

  • Tree Removal
  • March 22, 2018
  • Comments Off on Rules that govern cutting your tree in Australia

The fact that you own your property and have a beautiful garden right in front with large number of trees does not give you the right to remove one or more of them whenever you want. The laws in Australia are quite definite in this regard and you should know what is applicable in your State before cutting a tree down. True, abundance of trees and vegetation provide shade and privacy apart from being visually appealing and adding to the curb value. But there are times when it becomes necessary to remove trees as certain problems might crop up if you do not do so.

Here are some reasons why it might be imperative to remove a tree from your property.

  • It is old, dead or dying and has become so weak that it can topple over any time thereby endangering life and property below
  • It is diseased or infested with termites and other wood eating insects and these can spread to other trees and vegetation
  • It is posing a threat to your neighbour’s property
  • Space has to be created for additions or renovations to the existing buildings and structure

The best way to know if a diseased or weak tree is to be removed or can be strengthened with braces and cables is by getting expert and professional opinion from arborists and agencies specialising in tree care and surgery.

Before removing a tree from your property it is recommended that you contact the local council to know the rules in force in your State in this regard. Not getting the required approvals can result in hefty fines and penalties.

On a national basis, all native species are protected and permission has to be taken before cutting them down. Applications have to give in detail the reasons why a tree needs to be removed. In some States this rule against removing native tree species holds good for property situated in rural areas only. Apart from native species, trees that have heritage and Aboriginal heritage significance are also included in the schedule for protection on a national level.

The only exemption to these statutory approvals is for trees that fall in the pest species. Pruning and trimming of trees for maintenance and landscape beautification or when intervention is required in the interest of a tree also fall in the exempted category.

While the rules for cutting down trees differ between States the overall goal is to protect green cover over the country. Here is an overview in a nutshell of the laws in a couple of States of Australia with regard to cutting down trees.


There are two tools in force. At the local government level there is the Vegetation Protection Overlays (VPOs) and at the State level vegetation is managed by the Victorian Planning Provision (VPP). VPOs are used by almost 63% of local councils to identify vegetation that needs to be protected.

New South Wales

Like Victoria, New South Wales have two tools that determine permissions to be granted for tree removal – Tree Preservations (TPOs) and Local Environment Plans (LEPs). You can remove a tree from your property so long as it is not a significant tree. To know whether a tree is deemed significant or not you have to check the register of significant trees maintained at the local councils.

Similarly, there will be laws in other States too almost on the same lines.

However, before you pick up the axe to remove a tree a word of caution. Tree removal is a very complex task best left to professionals in the field. A tree falling at an odd angle can be a hazard to the surrounding area.

  • Published On : 9 months ago on March 22, 2018
  • Author By :
  • Last Updated : March 22, 2018 @ 8:33 am
  • In The Categories Of : Tree Removal