Project status: In Progress

How you had YourSay:

We heard your thoughts and experiences on how we can improve the current Tree Protection Act 2005 and any ideas about how to enhance our urban forest to meet the tree canopy target.

You had YourSay by reading the discussion paper and:

We are looking at:

The Tree Protection Act 2005 sets out how we protect individual trees on leased land in the ACT. We know some members of the community have encountered issues with the current Act as it is inflexible and focused on the condition of the tree, without considering the broader context, such as whether the tree poses a safety risk to surrounding residents, obstructs a building or the impact on development potential due to its location within the block. It also allows trees to be removed with no requirement to replace them.

The review of the Act will seek to better manage trees on private property and will support our Living Infrastructure Plan, released last month. It will also work alongside our Climate Change Strategy, which outlines how we will keep our city cool in a warming climate and sets out how we will increase our urban tree canopy cover from 21 per cent to 30 per cent.

We want to streamline application and assessment processes to improve the community's experience in applying to do works in relation to trees ranging from pruning to removal. We are also seeking to introduce a tree offset program to replace trees removed due to development or issues they are causing at a residence.

What is a tree offset program?

Offsets are used to compensate for loss and would mean that when a tree (that meets a certain set of criteria) is removed, it needs to be replaced with another tree or trees, or other equivalent living infrastructure. Offsets work on a ‘no net loss principle’ and can be implemented in a variety of ways. The ACT could consider a system whereby when a tree is removed, a replacement tree or similar living infrastructure is planted on the same block, or instead an amount could be paid into an offset fund which would be used to plant trees on public land. A combination of approaches may be necessary to ensure offsets achieve a no net loss result in the short to medium term. It is important to take into account the time it will take for offset plantings to grow and predicted mortality rates of new trees. An effective compliance framework would also be required to ensure replacement plantings are achieved and retained.

We will use your views to:

Your feedback will be important input into the review of the Tree Protection Act 2005. The COVID pandemic has caused a delay to the finalisation of the project. Feedback received as part of the consultation on the draft Urban Forest Strategy will also be considered as part of the review.