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A tree may need to be removed for a number of reasons. If you need to remove a tree from your property, it is critical that you check first if a permit is required. Whilst you may think – the tree is on my property, why would I need a permit? In some cases, you do need a permit to carry out work on trees, and if work is done without a permit, it can result in serious penalties. So how do you know if you need a permit to remove a tree in Brisbane and how do you apply for one?

The Legislation

Aussie Tree Solutions Legislation

As odd as it may sound, you don’t actually own the trees that are located on your private property. Trees are considered to be an asset of the community and as such, they belong to that wider community, which is why a permit may be required to prune or remove a tree, even if it is located on your land.

Tree protection laws and their specific requirements vary between councils, so you always need to check with your own local council, however most will require an application before any significant works are carried out. Here in Brisbane, a tree cannot be removed or have any significant work carried out without council approval if it has been classified as ‘protected vegetation’ without an exemption.  Trees that fall into this category are identified by Brisbane City Council under the Natural Assets Local Law 2003 (NALL). This law aims to protect Brisbane’s vegetation, and strike a balance between the protection of the city’s environment, people, property and lifestyle.

Your property is more likely to have protected vegetation if:

  • It contains large or significant trees. Trees may be considered significant due to their age, size, location, species or cultural significance
  • It has heritage value
  • It is located on, or near to, the Brisbane river or a waterway corridor
  • It is located in a bushland or rural area


Your local council may decide you are exempt from having to acquire a permit in the following circumstances:

  • Your tree is showing obvious signs of immediate and significant threat such as leaning, split trunk for example (NB evidence of the threat must be provided with photographic evidence and an Arborist report may be requested to further support your claim)
  • Your tree is dead and at risk of falling over or causing significant damage
  • It poses a fire risk due to its condition and or location

Exemptions will normally not be granted for aesthetic reasons such as views being blocked or for inconveniences such as debris dropping into pools for example.

How To Apply For A Permit

Aussie Tree Solutions Apply For A Permit

To find out whether your tree is protected, contact your local council in the first instance, before any work is done. If your tree is protected, your next step will be to apply for a permit or an exemption.

To apply for a permit to have a tree removed here in Brisbane, you will need to fill out an application form, either online or a printed version. All permit applications are free in Brisbane. Providing relevant supporting evidence such as photos or drawings is a great idea to help the process along. The council may also request an Arborist report depending on your individual circumstances.

Failure to comply with local legislation can result in serious repercussions. Here in Brisbane, fines can range anywhere up to $10,000 and you could face legal action.

Your Arborist Can Help

Aussie Tree Solutions Arborist Can Help

You may wish to take the guess work out of permits, exemptions and approvals and have your trusted Arborist take care of it for you. Your Arborist can help to streamline the process and can do the relevant checks on your behalf and provide expert advice on the best course of action for your specific circumstances. If you then go ahead with the removal, your Arborist will come fully insured, equipped with the appropriate tools for the job and with the requisite knowledge to safely and efficiently remove your tree, for your total peace of mind. They will also clean up afterwards and dispose of any waste, which in the case of a large tree removal, can be substantial.

Aussie Tree Solutions have been taking care of Brisbane residents, businesses, schools and councils for over 40 years. Our reputation has been built on our safety-first ethic, specialist knowledge and professional approach. We offer a full range of tree care services including tree removals and stump grinding and everything in between. Call Aussie Tree Solutions anytime, 24/7 and ask for a free quote on our tree removal services.

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