get a tree removal council approval to remove a tree

How To Get Council Approval To Remove a Tree

Getting permission to remove a tree on your property can be complicated in Australia. Every state has different rules and regulations to adhere to before cutting down any trees. In addition, depending on your tree type, it may require tree removal council approval. This blog will discuss how to get council approval to remove a tree in Australia, what trees require council approval, and how best to obtain it with the help of tree arborists.

Steps on Getting a Council Approval Before Removing a Tree

Step 1: Check If You Require a Permit When Removing a Tree

The first step is to check if you need a tree removal permit. Every state has rules and regulations, so familiarising yourself with your locality’s tree-removal council approval rules is essential. Depending on the type of tree and the size, you may require a permit before any tree removal can occur. If not, great news! Let’s proceed to Step 4.

Step 2: Collect All The Information Required

The next step requires collecting all relevant information for your local council to avoid a penalty for cutting trees without a permit. To ensure everything is covered, look at their website to learn what’s needed — from tree size and species to fire zone restrictions or vegetation overlays — plus any applicable items listed in the Significant Tree Registry.

To assist with accuracy, an additional Pro Arborist Report must be included when submitting your application – this tree report will provide a deeper dive into the proposed works on the said tree and its overall condition.

Once you’ve established whether or not you require a permit, assess the tree that needs to be removed. Check for any signs of tree diseases or rot, as these could affect how it needs to be removed and how much damage it might cause when being cut down.

Step 3: Submit the Paperwork

Once you have all the information required and your paperwork is in order, it’s time to apply. Your council will assess your application and decide based on their tree removal council policy. During this time, the council can still consider the request within its discretionary power if it is exempt from town planning regulations.

As soon as you submit your application, pay any applicable processing fee that may be required before tree works can begin. The length of time for council approval will vary depending upon council assessment criteria — however, once approved, work can move forward with confidence knowing the council has granted permission.

Step 4: Hire Qualified Arborists

Once you’ve received your tree removal permit from the council to remove a tree, it’s time to find experienced and qualified arborists who can handle the job. As tree felling is dangerous, ensure that your chosen team is licensed professionals with public liability insurance. They will have the necessary skill and experience to ensure your tree removal runs smoothly and safely.

Reasons Why You Should Remove a Tree

Taking down a tree on your property can be a straightforward process. Depending on the state, city or municipality you live in, specific rules and regulations may govern what is required for council tree removal. However, if you can demonstrate good reasons to remove trees such as being dead, hazardous or at risk of fire, councils are often willing to give their permission without further questions.

With a few exceptions, the council is generally happy to sign off on tree removal. This includes trees that sit too close to your house or pool (within 3 metres), ones smaller than this three-metre threshold and any blocking the construction of a boundary fence.

Many councils have strict regulations in place when it comes to how to remove a tree. Unsurprisingly, requests based solely on aesthetic reasons, such as obstructing a view or dispersion of leaves, are soundly declined. The same goes for any tree listed under protected categories due to age, size and other factors that deem them ‘significant’.

What Trees Can Be Cut Down Without Permission?

Can you cut down a tree on your property? Australia is a land of laws and regulations, with each local council assigning rules on caring for trees. When cutting down trees on your property, though, you’ll probably need permission in some instances — such as if the tree’s trunk diameter exceeds 45 cm or its height surpasses 10m.

So, what trees can be cut down without permission? Check out this list for the types that don’t need a permit before removal.

  • Dead trees
  • Fallen trees
  • Trees within 10m of your home in fire danger zones
  • Trees within 3m of your home foundations
  • Storm damage trees/
  • hazardous trees
  • Pest species
  • Palm trees

However, you will need council approval to remove protected or endangered trees. Cutting down an endangered or protected tree in Australia requires special consideration. These trees are scarce and could be on the brink of extinction, meaning securing a permit from your local council is essential before any action can be taken.

In Australia, it’s illegal to cut down protected or endangered trees – and those caught doing so may be hit with hefty fines. Moreover, permits for such actions are only granted when a city arborist has given qualified advice.

Australia is home to numerous remarkable tree species listed as endangered or protected. Some of Australia’s most noteworthy specimens in this category include Burdett gum (Eucalyptus burdettiana), Mukinbudin mallee-Eucalyptus brevipes), Cider Gum (Eucalyptus gunnii), silver mallet (Eucalyptus recta), and others.

List of Penalties & Fines By State

NSW: councils have stringent regulations to protect native trees – anyone found cutting or pruning one without a permit can face severe fines. The maximum penalty for breaking Tree Preservation Orders is $110,000 and can reach up to an eye-watering million dollars if the case goes before the Land & Environment Court.

Queensland: is a hub of diverse perspectives—and it’s no different regarding tree protection. Each local council across the state has specific laws determining how and why you might get fined for certain tree-related activities, like cutting them down without council approval for tree removal.

Victoria: In Victoria, there are consequences for tree-cutting without permission. The city of Boroondara is committed to preserving its environment with a maximum fine of $2,000 per violation.

Western Australia: Protecting WA’s trees is a priority. Local councils are taking proactive steps to uphold the laws that stop us from cutting down certain types of trees without council approval.

  • Trees of exceptional visual and aesthetic value.
  • Trees of high botanic and scientific value.
  • Trees of high ecological importance.
  • Trees have historical, cultural, or social significance.

Those who recklessly and illegally cut down trees face hefty consequences, with fines for cutting down trees of up to $200,000 plus an added daily fine of $25,000 for each day the offence continues. A swift reminder comes in the form of an infringement notice costing them only half as much as $500.

Tree Protection Laws in Australia

New South Wales

The council tree removal policy helps ensure vital trees are protected for years to come. It carefully defines what a ‘protected tree’ is and provides safeguards to keep all existing trees on a lot safe.

Trees with a special status need to be respected: Requests for pruning or removal require an extra layer of permission and official consent in some cases.

CDCs don’t permit the removal of protected trees, and anything on a local council’s significant tree register will be off-limits too. So make sure to protect this exceptional foliage during construction.


In Queensland, managing trees involves a complicated web of local laws across Councils. Unfortunately, something must still be created to simplify the process with a template model of local tree and vegetation management laws. Even indigenous species can sometimes fall under the same category as ‘vegetation’.

Queensland’s Department of Local Government offers an online database with many local laws covering all classifications and regulations. From Nuisances to Animals, Public Places safety orders and beyond. Learn more on the DSDIP website.

  1. Protection of vegetation
  2. Natural Assets Local Law
  3. Preservation of Trees
  4. Vegetation Management

The Cherbourg and Domadgee Aboriginal Councils safeguard trees with a girth of 50 cm (at the base) or greater against ring-barking, cutting down, topping, removing, poisoning, hurting, or deliberate destruction. Tree pruning “for regeneration or aesthetic shape” is authorised. Trees may be removed:

  • with formal Council approval;
  • if the Council certifies in writing that the tree is dying, dead, diseased, or potentially dangerous;
  • if the tree or trees are in the path of proposed roadways, sewage works, drainage works, or other infrastructure; or
  • When the tree or trees are within 3 metres of any existing or proposed building on a construction site.


In Victoria, trees are protected by two types of law: general property laws and a particular type called common law. This latter legal protection has been formulated through years of court decisions, preserving our greenery.

The owner may be legally responsible if a tree is causing damage or a nuisance. But it’s always worth checking with your local council. Some trees are protected under special rules, and depending on where they’re located, the council might help resolve neighbourhood tree disputes and trim back trees in specific spaces.

Western Australia

Protecting Western Australia’s natural environment is of the utmost importance. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, anyone wishing to clear native vegetation must hold a valid permit — unless you’re removing for an exempt purpose. This law applies across private and public lands.

With WA state laws delegated to local governments, staying informed of relevant tree regulations can be challenging. It is especially true when trying to keep track of public and private tree protections since these guidelines often vary from city to city.

Every local council in Western Australia has criteria for safeguarding significant trees, as enabled by the Planning and Development Act of 2005. These protective registrations consider various factors like size (height, canopy span and circumference) plus historical or cultural value that could be indigenous-related. Thus unique ecosystems can continue with councils creating their personalised list of “tree protection orders”.

Tree Arborists Are The Solution

After you receive the council approval for tree removal, getting tree work done is easy. All that’s left for you to do? Put up your feet and enjoy watching a team of qualified tree arborists handle all the hard labour.

Does your garden have trees you want to remove, and is it in need of TLC? Look no further — Tree Wise Men in Perth is here to help revitalise the outdoor space of your dreams! Our skilled professionals are knowledgeable, responsive and friendly. Contact us today for cost-effective solutions for your landscape without breaking the law.


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