Publicly Visible Tree Removal Register

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: Recommendations Determined


Moved by Councillor Scott, seconded by Councillor Vithoulkas –

It is resolved that:

(A)      Council note:

(i)         currently, notices of tree removal are attached to trees slated for removal;

(ii)        current stay-at-home health orders limit our communities’ opportunities to see notices of removal attached to publicly visible trees;

(iii)      resident groups Ultimo Village Voice Community Group and Pyrmont Action Community Group support a Publicly Visible Tree Removal Register;

(iv)      the City of Sydney’s Community Participation Plan 2019 provides for a notification period for development applications of between 14 and 28 days for all development applications except for modifications to consent which will not impact upon surrounding land uses or increase impacts in comparison with the previous approval(s);

(v)       that for development applications the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 requires the City of Sydney:

(a)       to give public notice in a local newspaper of the places, dates and times for inspection of the draft plan, and

(b)       publicly exhibit a copy of the draft plan and a copy of any supporting documents on the dates and during the times set out in the notice;

(vi)      the City of Sydney’s Community Participation Plan 2019 states that the City of Sydney will exhibit all draft development application plans on its website;

(vii)     tree pruning and removal in the City of Sydney are managed through its Tree Management Controls;

(viii)    the City of Sydney has an internal database detailing the 32,000 trees in the City of Sydney Local Government Area;

(ix)      mature trees provide significant shade and cooling in the City of Sydney;

(x)       mature trees provide important habitat for wildlife in the City of Sydney;

(xi)      native bird numbers in metropolitan areas including the City of Sydney have seen significant declines in recent decades;

(xii)     Australian magpie numbers have declined by 31 per cent in the East Coast region — including Sydney and Brisbane — between 1998 and 2013;

(xiii)    the Greening Sydney Strategy was unanimously endorsed at the July 2021 meeting of Council;

(xiv)    the Street Tree Masterplan is due to be renewed in 2022;

(xv)     the notifications of public tree removal under the City of Melbourne’s Tree Retention and Removal Policy can include “direct contact, site meetings, letters to residents in the immediate vicinity, signage on site and a published list on the City of Melbourne website”; and

(xvi)    the City of Melbourne’s Tree Retention and Removal Policy considers information including reasonable period of notification, the prominence of the location, the significance of the tree, the size of the tree, the number of trees, impact of removal, reasons for public tree removal, consideration of all arboricultural solution and health of tree in its removal and notification procedures; and

(B)      the Chief Executive Officer be requested to investigate amendments to the Tree Management Policy that would align the policy with the Community Participation Plan 2019 for development applications including displaying notices for intended tree removal online.

A show of hands on the motion resulted in an equality of voting as follow –

Ayes (5)          Councillors Chung, Forster, Phelps, Scott and Vithoulkas

Noes (5)          The Chair (the Lord Mayor), Councillors Kok, Miller, Scully and Thalis.

The Lord Mayor exercised her casting vote against the motion. The motion was declared lost.

Motion lost.


Report author: Erin Cashman

Publication date: 20/09/2021

Date of decision: 20/09/2021

Decided at meeting: 20/09/2021 - Council

Accompanying Documents: