You could be forgiven for thinking that a tree on your property is at your leisure to manage; but the reality is, some trees have more rights than others!

Let us break down based on location.

Gold Coast (QLD)

Tree removal on the Gold Coast is managed by the Vegetation Management Code, a code that helps you to assess your trees and trees in your area, while protecting trees from unnecessary removal. Assessment includes size, condition, location, and also species classification.

For the most part, you can remove:

  • Pests: Species including;
    • Cadagi tree
    • Slash pine tree
    • Cocos Palm
    • Coral tree
  • Trees within 1.5m of a pool or perimeter fence
  • Trees within 3m of your residence, or approved building structure
  • Trees less than 40cm in circumference, or shorter than 4m

When in doubt, there’s no harm enlisting the advice of a qualified Arborist to expertly assess whether removal is within your rights. Then it’s only a short step for us to safely remove the tree for you!

Checklists are provided by the Gold Coast Council here:

If, after assessment, you conclude that your tree will require council approval, you can complete the below form, or, to save the hassle, let our arborists team manage the removal application for you, from start to finish. How good!

You can find the form here:


Northern Rivers (NSW)

For the Lismore City Council, the council has a Tree Preservation Order (known as the TPO) that protects healthy and significant trees within the Northern Rivers.

For the purposes of pruning and removal, what is defined as a tree in the Lismore Council is;

  • A trunk at 1m high of greater than 500mm
  • Height greater than 5m
  • Canopy wider than 4m.

As in the Goldy, fruit trees, environmental and noxious weeds are excluded from protection. 

The below webpage is a fantastic resource, and includes Pruning & Removal Application forms, and the full list of environmental and noxious weeds excluded from protection.


Tweed Shire (NSW)

In the Tweed Shire, as with other shires, a large number of the trees under protection are ‘Prescribed Vegetation’. This means that they are important because they are local native trees or vegetation, very large or heritage listed trees, a threatened plant species, or primary koala feed trees.

For Prescribed Vegetation, you will be required to lodge an application for removal. See the link for what is covered under Tree Preservation Orders in the Tweed Shire.


Ballina Shire (NSW)

The Ballina Shire Council has one of the easiest websites to navigate, with an entire landing page on trees!

But it evens out when it comes to understanding the law. Different parts of the Ballina Shire have different tree removal rules for private land, based upon the environmental plan for that specific area. In this instance, it is the easiest to directly contact the Council on 1300 864 444, or enlist your Arborist to partake on the journey for you.

Some trees on private land information can be found here. There is a particular focus on the protection of Pandanus trees in this area.


Byron Shire (NSW)

The Byron City Council also provide a clear-cut and easy to use website to deliver all necessary information on which types of trees require removal. For Byron, the trees require a Development Application for removal are;

  • Heritage trees
  • Trees with Aboriginal heritage value
  • Trees within coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests
  • Trees in a heritage conservation area

Byron is a particularly environmentally conscious council. To view all the information available, follow the link.


Side note: Neighbouring trees

If your neighbours have trees on their property whose branches are encroaching onto yours (an adjoining tree), or visa versa, there are rules and guidelines governed by your state as to the lawful and considerate removal of these.

To understand what is considered a tree by the state of Qld, and what your rights are as a tree keeper and that of a person with a tree on an adjoining property, see here.

For NSW: The rules and regulations are particular from council to council, but general guidelines exist here:


We hope this helps you understand the best practice process when it comes to legal assessment of tree removal on your private property. For further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Eviron team!