Georges River Council adopts revised Tree Management Policy to enhance urban canopy

Georges River Council

Georges River Council has adopted a revised Tree Management Policy at its meeting on 27 May 2024. This Policy establishes a comprehensive framework for managing trees on both private and public land within the Georges River local government area (LGA).

The Council has set a target of achieving 40% urban canopy cover by 2038, in alignment with the Greater Sydney Region Plan.

The revised Tree Management Policy emphasises the enhancement and management of trees to facilitate the urban canopy target.

It prioritises practical tree retention, considering tree removal as a last resort, and encourages planting a diverse mix of appropriate tree species to maximise the sustainability and resilience of the urban forest across the LGA.

The Policy equally values private and public trees, acknowledging that increasing canopy cover on public land alone is insufficient to meet the target.

Key features of the revised Policy include:

  • Extensive reorganising to clearly distinguish the management of private trees from public trees, addressing previous concerns about user-friendliness.

  • The definition of a tree has been revised to ensure effective compliance actions against illegal tree removal.

  • The Policy now outlines the assessment criteria and management methods for Significant Trees.

  • The approach and requirements for replacement plantings on private land have been clarified and prioritised.

To support the revised Policy, an amendment to the Georges River Development Control Plan (DCP) 2021 has been prepared.

The amended DCP mandates at least one tree for all dwelling house and dual occupancy developments, providing a stronger regulatory framework for prosecuting illegal tree works.

Georges River Council Mayor Sam Elmir emphasised the importance of environmental stewardship, stating, “Our environment is essential to the wellbeing of both our planet and our community.”

“To achieve a greener urban environment, we need to plant more trees and shrubs and stop the unnecessary cutting of mature trees,” he continued.

“Protecting our biodiversity, especially endemic species, is crucial for a sustainable future,” Mayor Elmir concluded.

The revised Tree Management Policy and the DCP changes will take effect from 10 June 2024.

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