Private Tree Removal

If you are planning to remove or carry out major works on an established tree on your property, you may first need a permit. To apply for a permit, please see below.

All large trees within the municipality are protected by a Community Local Law. Trees in certain locations are also protected by the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme.

Local Law protection

Under the Local Law, you must obtain a Tree Removal Permit before removing or causing damage to a Protected Tree.

A Protected Tree is a tree or palm with a trunk diameter of 45 cm or greater measured at 1.5 m above its base.

For further information, refer to Hobsons Bay Community Local Law (2015) - Part 47(2) Street tree and tree protection (page 44).

Planning Scheme protection

The Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme applies tree controls over specific areas within the city. Tree controls exist within the Heritage Overlay (Clause 43.01). The specific locations are listed in the following schedule within the planning scheme.

Please email the Planning Services team or contact 1300 179 944 to discuss planning permit requirements.

How do I apply for a Private Tree Removal Permit?

To apply, you must:

  1. Submit a permit application
  2. Make a payment of $129.00

A payment of $129.00 must be made upon submission of the application. The fee covers administrative costs associated with assessment of an application. An assessment of the application cannot proceed until payment has been received. Payment of the application fee does not guarantee that a permit will be issued. There are no additional costs, regardless of whether a permit is issued.

A 50% discount applies to eligible concession card holders.

Please note: An application to remove a Protected Tree must be made by the property owner.

Your application will take approximately 15 business days to assess.

Why are trees protected?

Established trees are a major part of the Hobsons Bay landscape. They offer many benefits, such as cooling air temperatures during hot weather, increasing property values, providing privacy, and contributing to biodiversity. It takes decades for established trees to grow to the size where they can provide the maximum benefits.

Within the urban environment, there are often pressures to remove healthy established trees to make way for infill development. If these activities are not controlled, the area’s tree canopy coverage rapidly reduces. The reduction of tree canopy cover negatively effects our local community.

Before applying for a removal permit, please note that a permit will not be granted where a tree is healthy, structurally sound, not causing damage to property or presenting a risk to safety.  

Tree protection FAQ 

How can I tell if my tree is protected by the Community Local Law?

All trees with a trunk diameter of 45 cm or greater, measured at 1.5 m above their base are protected under the Community Local Law

Tree removal how to measure DBH.png
Figure 1: Diagram illustrating how to measure the diameter of a trunk at 1.5m above grade


What happens when I submit a Private Tree Removal Application?

The following steps are involved in the Private Tree Removal Application review process:

  • Your application is initially reviewed by one of Council’s senior arborists.
  • The arborist will make contact within 10-working days of receiving the application to arrange a site inspection.
  • The tree will be assessed by the arborist and a brief report will be prepared on the tree following the site visit.
  • A decision on the permit application will be provided within 10-working days from the site visit.


Do I require a permit to carry out minor works on my Protected Tree?

Minor pruning works that are carried out by a suitably qualified arborist (minimum AQF Level III) and in accordance with the Australian standard for the pruning of amenity trees (AS4373-2007) do not require a permit.


Do I have to submit an independent arborist report with my initial Private Tree Removal Application?

An independent arborist report is not required to be included in the Private Tree Removal Application. Each tree is inspected by one of Council’s senior arborists, as part of the review process.


I am concerned that a Protected Tree on my property is causing structural damage to my property. Can I get it removed?

Any claims that a Protected Tree is causing structural damage must be verified by a suitably qualified structural engineer. The engineer’s report must be enclosed within the application and must directly link the subject tree with the alleged property damage. Tree removal will only be considered if the tree is identified as causing, or having an increased potential to cause major structural damage and there are no other viable means to alleviate the issue.


I am not satisfied with the assessment and/or decision on my application. What can I do?

If you are not satisfied by the outcome of the Council arborist’s assessment, you are welcome to engage a suitably qualified independent arborist (minimum AQF Level V) to inspect the tree and prepare an arboriculture report. For Council to review the report, the arborist must use, and be qualified to use, a recognised tree risk assessment framework. Current industry leading tree risk assessment methods include ISA TRAQ, QTRA and VALID.


I intend to develop my property, but a Protected Tree is in the way. Can I get it removed?

A key intention of the local law is to protect healthy established trees from being removed due to pressures that are associated with in-fill development. Healthy Protected Trees will not be approved for removal to facilitate a development.