Much as one may want to preserve trees, there are also times when it may be necessary to get a tree removed from your property.
Those who want to remove a tree from their property may do so legally for any of these reasons:
- The tree is dying, diseased, or dead.
- The tree is termite- or insect-infested.
- The tree presents a threat to you or the neighbourhood’s safety.
- The tree is located too close or in an inconvenient spot relative to your residence or building.
- The tree is blocking construction or renovation work.
Before you can proceed with tree removal, you need to file an application with the local council and pay the necessary fees.
Tree removal application fees
The local councils of Randwick, Waverley, and Woollahra each have their own tree removal application process, as well as corresponding fees.
- Randwick City Council: For tree removal in Randwick, the application fee is AUD 76 for a single tree. You need to pay an extra AUD 28 for every additional tree.
- Waverley Council: For a single tree in Waverley, the tree removal application fee is AUD 77. For every additional tree, you’ll need to pay an extra AUD 31.
- Woollahra Municipal Council:Removing a tree in Woollahra would set you back by AUD 77.50. You will need to pay AUD 28.50 more for each additional tree.
Public property trees, heritage trees, and significant trees are protected legally from pruning and removal. For more information about significant and heritage trees, check with your local council and ask for a copy of the tree list.
Heritage trees are protected by heritage and Aboriginal heritage legislation. They are often historically significant and usually considered outstanding examples of their kind. Some of these heritage trees include the pink poplar and Norfolk pine.
Significant trees are so classified and protected based on their horticultural, social, historical, and aesthetic values. The Washington palm and Queensland firewheel tree are some such examples.
Trees you can prune or remove without council approval
Not all trees are legally protected from pruning and removal. There are those which can be pruned or removed with no council approval. Most trees categorised as noxious or invasive belong to this group.
Examples of noxious trees include the oleander, cocos palm, willow, and wild or African olive.
Make sure you notify the local council about your intent and provide photos of the affected trees prior to taking action.
Trees you can remove without permission
Many types of trees can be removed without the need for council permission. These include the rubber tree, banana, and bamboo.
There are tree species you can prune or remove without permission, subject to them being below 10 metres tall. They shouldn’t be on the list of significant trees either. The trees in this group include the camphor laurel, Chinese nettle tree, American nettle tree, coral tree, and liquidambar.
Err on the side of caution
To avoid pruning or cutting a tree by mistake and being subjected to stiff fines and penalties, always err on the side of caution. Be sure to drop by your local council and check local tree regulations.