Banyule Council is calling on the State Government to increase the penalties for illegally removing trees, particularly when it is done to gain a development advantage.
The current fines under the Planning Environment Act 1987 were not enough to deter people from cutting trees down without a permit.
Cr. Jenny Mulholland said the fines for illegally removing trees were $758 for individuals and $1,517 for companies and there were no specific requirements for remedial action such as replanting trees.
“Under the Banyule Planning Scheme, there is tree protection, including native, exotic and substantial trees, across residential areas in Banyule, as well as individual protection for trees that are on Banyule’s Significant Tree Register,” Cr Mulholland said.
“Unfortunately, greed for the profits to be made from single or multi-dwelling developments can lead to people flouting the laws that are designed to ensure that Banyule retains the green and treed neighbourhood character that potential and existing residents so value.”
In a Notice of Motion, supported by all councillors, Banyule Council will:
- Write to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, expressing concern that the penalties under the Planning Environment Act 1987 are not an adequate deterrent when trees are illegally removes to obtain a development advantage.
- Continue to apply the Banyule Planning and Building Enforcement Framework in situations where trees have been illegally removed.
- Consider a proactive education campaign to discourage people from cutting trees down without first getting a planning permit.
Before undertaking any tree works, such as heavy pruning or removal, people should discuss their proposal with Council’s planning team on 9457 9808.
“Our team in planning can help people establish if they require a permit to prune or remove a tree on their property. This helps protect Banyule’s trees and also residents and developers from inadvertently doing the wrong thing,”
“Residents should also be wary of tree loppers who door knock and solicit tree works, sometimes telling people that trees on their property are dangerous when they were not, often asking for upfront cash payments, and disregarding the planning controls which protect trees.”