New legislation regarding tree protection will take effect on January 1, 2024. These regulations will significantly increase the number of trees protected on private land and enhance the protection of both private and public trees. It’s crucial to understand the changes to ensure compliance with tree removal and maintenance activities.

Tree Removal Yass Golf Course
Tree Removal Yass Golf Course

Under the new regulations, any work that may potentially damage a protected tree, including tree removal, pruning, utility maintenance, or construction, requires prior approval. A tree on private land is considered protected if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Height of 8m or taller (reduced from 12m previously allowed until December 31, 2023)
  • Canopy width of 8m or wider
  • Trunk circumference of 1m or more at 1.4m above natural ground level
  • Dead native tree with a trunk circumference of 1.88m or more at 1.4m above natural ground level
  • Planted within the last five years as part of a Canopy Contribution Agreement
  • Registered tree listed on the ACT Tree Register for exceptional value

If approval is granted for tree removal, a canopy contribution agreement will be provided, outlining the commitment to replant trees on the property or make a financial contribution.

Homeowners (owner-occupiers) must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Replant two trees for each approved tree removal on the property, organised by O’Briens Trees if needed
  • Pay a financial contribution of $600 per replacement tree not planted if replanting is not feasible on-site, up to a maximum of $1,200 per removed tree, as determined by the ACT Government

For more details on your obligations, visit

O’Briens Tree Services can assist with identifying trees requiring approval and preparing and submitting applications. Additionally, our Level 5 Arborist can offer a free quote for a Tree Management Plan in cases where new development or house extensions are planned. Fill out a form for a no-obligation tree removal quote to get started.