Exceptional Tree Register

Member for Waite, Sam Duluk MP has introduced legislation to establish an Exceptional Tree Register in South Australia (SA).

The Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Exceptional Tree Register) Amendment Bill 2021 seeks to bring SA into line with other jurisdictions nationally. Local Councils will define exceptional trees and a Commissioner will be appointed to maintain a complete list with stronger legal protections for felling trees published on the register.

“Living in the green and leafy electorate of Waite, tree loss is a common concern raised with me when I am out in the community. Local Councils and the current laws and regulations contain little in the way of protection for regulated and significant trees which was the main reason for the introduction of the exceptional tree register legislation”, said Mr Duluk. 

This Bill provides a broad definition and framework for protecting trees that are of an outstanding age, size, location, rarity or are found to have certain aesthetic, historical or horticultural value. Other reasons for protection can include providing important habitat for wildlife or an association to Aboriginal culture and traditions.

“Consultation from the Planning and Design Code showed substantial community angst over the loss of trees across our suburbs”, said Mr Duluk. 

Key findings from the Phase 3 Engagement Report found that submissions from the community, local government and advocacy groups overwhelmingly sought to strengthen policy to protect large trees.

“I have been proud to work with the community, particularly local resident Tom Morrison to develop this legislation”, said Mr Duluk. 

Mr Morrison was awarded the City of Mitcham’s 2020 Australian of the Year Award for his advocacy on tree protection laws through the 20 Metre Trees social media campaign.

The Bill takes inspiration from the City of Melbourne, which established their exceptional tree register back in 2012 and whose urban greening strategy, as part of Living Melbourne, is seen as a global leader.

“I look forward to working with Parliament to further this legislation and am currently in the process of welcoming feedback from relevant organisations such as the Local Government Authority, Urban Development Institute of Australia (SA) as well as the Conservation and Heritage Councils”, said Mr Duluk.