Brisbane Vegetation Protection Order – Know What You Can And Cannot Remove Or Disrupt

The Brisbane Vegetation Protection Order protects trees and vegetation that are growing in some areas or that are a certain species. Before you remove a tree on your property, it is important that you understand the laws that could protect the tree you are considering removing.

The Natural Assets Local Law covers trees and vegetation on land that:

Is Near a Waterway or River

Vegetation and trees in waterways and wetlands are protected to preserve the habitat of fauna and flora. The protected wetlands and waterways can be man-made and may contain salt or fresh water. These areas play an important role in the conservation of natural wildlife, the movement of water from place to place and the maintenance of the quality of water.

Is a Significant Landscape Tree (SLT)

Some species of trees fall into the SLT category under the Vegetation Protection Order. If the tree is listed in the Natural Assets Law list of protected species, it cannot be removed for cosmetic purposes. It can only be removed for emergency purposes, such as if it has become infested with parasites or fungi or is carrying a disease that could spread to nearby trees.

Is Significant Urban Vegetation

Any tree that is considered to be rare or is of historical, cultural or environmental significance is protected under this law. They may add character to the landscape to the areas that the Council has listed in a planning scheme for future development.

The penalties for removing trees and vegetation that are protected under the law include:

Prescribed Infringement Notices

These notices are issued for minor offenses. The Council may order the offender to pay for the cost of restoration. The financial penalties vary greatly depending on the severity of the damage that has been caused. The greater the damage, the greater the financial penalties.

Council Hearing

If the offense is more serious than trimming a protected tree without a permit, the offender could be ordered to appear before the Council for a hearing. At this hearing the appropriate punishment will be ordered. This could be very harsh financial punishments or even imprisonment.

Before you begin work on any protected tree or vegetation, you must apply for a permit. There are three different permits:

  • Short term work
  • Long term work
  • Minor street tree pruning

Once you have submitted your application for the permit, the Council will respond with an approval or rejection. If your permit is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision and go through the appeals process.

Know the laws before you begin removing trees and other vegetation on your property or on a piece of land you are working on. These laws are in place to help keep Brisbane and the surrounding areas beautiful now and long into the future. If you need tree trimming or removal, a professional service like Arborforce can help you navigate the requirements of the Brisbane Vegetation Protection Order.