FAQs - Tree Management Permit Applications
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FAQs - Tree Management Permit Applications

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Click on each question below to expand it and see the answer.

If you can't find what you need here, call our Customer Service team on (02) 4227 7111 or lodge a request online.

I want to prune or remove a tree on my land – what do I do?

​If your tree:
  • is three metres or more in height or
  • has a trunk diameter of 200mm or more at a height of one metre from the ground; or
  • has a branch spread of three metres or more.
  • is dead/dying and meets one of the three criteria above.
  • or for the pruning of major structural/anchor roots
you need to apply for a Tree Management Permit. 
For more information, see 'How do I apply for a Tree Management Permit?' below.

What trees are exempt from needing consent for them to be pruned or removed?

​Some trees may be exempt and do not require a permit to prune and or remove them.  For the list of exempt trees view the Exempt Trees List.  If your tree is not listed on the exempt list, for more information, go to “I want to prune or remove a tree on my land – what do I do?”.

If you are unsure of the tree species, Council recommends that you seek expert advice from tree experts such as a nursery, the Botanic Garden or a qualified arborist.

The exemption does not apply to any tree species where the tree is within the curtilage of an item of environmental heritage or upon land within a Heritage Conservation Area as identified in the Wollongong LEP 2009.  In such cases, the lodgement of a Development Application is required.

As a new property owner, how long before I can apply to prune/remove trees?

​New property owners can apply to prune/remove trees once settlement has taken place.

However, the new owner may need to provide Council with proof of ownership such as a copy of the transmittal advice to the Lands Title Office when submitting their application, as Council’s records of property ownership are not immediately updated.  Notification to Council of change of ownership generally takes between 8-12 weeks once settlement has taken place.

I want to apply for tree pruning/removal on a property under a Strata Plan. What do I do?

​Where a property is in a Strata Plan under the Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 or Strata Schemes (Leasehold Development) Act 1986, the written consent and Body Corporate stamp/seal is required to authorise the lodgement of an application.  For further information, see Section 2 on the current Tree Management Application form.
The full application fee is payable even if the applicant themselves are eligible to receive Council’s rate rebate, as the strata complex itself is not eligible to receive Council’s rate rebate, only individuals are.

How do I apply for a Tree Management Permit?

​There are two options to apply for a Tree Management Permit:

Online applications require payment of the prescribed application fee at time of lodgement via a credit card for the application to be accepted.
Return the form in person with payment to Council Customer Service Centre, Ground Floor 41 Burelli Street, Wollongong, or post the application form and payment to:

Wollongong City Council
Locked Bag 8821
Wollongong DC NSW 2500

How much does it cost?

​Cost: $77.50 (cash, credit card, cheque or money order). The application fee is reduced by 50% for residents who receive a Wollongong City Council pension rate rebate, ie a fee of $39 will apply. These costs are outlined in our Fees & Charges.

A neighbour’s tree is overhanging/causing damage to my property. What can I do?

​The owner of a neighbouring property may seek Council consent to prune a neighbour’s tree if it overhangs their property.  Pruning consent will be dependent on the ability of the tree to be pruned in accordance with Australian Standard AS 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees and root pruning is subject to tree stability.  All pruning consent granted must occur on the applicant’s side of the property boundary only.

Legal advice should be sought regarding the liability for any damage caused by trees.

Conflicts may be resolved through the Community Justice Centre or via private civil action.

The Trees (Disputes Between Neighbours) Act 2006 allows for the owner of an adjoining property to apply to the Land and Environment Court for an order to remedy, restrain or to prevent damage to their property or persons as a consequence of a tree situated on a neighbouring property.  For more information on dispute resolution go to Trees (Dispute Between Neighbours) Act 2006 or seek mediation through the Community Justice Centre.

My tree is dead/dying. Do I still need consent to remove it?

​Yes. Dead or dying trees are included in the Tree Management Policy. For more information, see the heading 'I want to prune or remove a tree on my land. What do I do?'

Who can prune or remove trees once a permit has been issued?

​Wollongong City Council makes it a condition of consent that pruning works are carried out by a qualified arborist and that all works are to the Australian Standard AS 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees. 

I don’t understand my permit’s pruning conditions

​Your arborist will understand the terminology used on the permit and could explain it to you when you are obtaining quotes for the approved pruning works. A condition on all pruning consent is that work is carried out to the Australian Standard AS 4373-2007 Pruning of Amenity Trees and that all work is carried out by a qualified arborist.

What is a suitable replacement tree?

​Council may make a condition of the removal consent that a suitable local native tree species replacement be planted.  By planting a local native tree species you are providing wildlife habitat, as they attract native animals and birds.  They are adapted to local conditions and often require less maintenance, care, water and chemical fertilisers than conventional exotic species.  Replacement plantings will contribute to the lost amenity when mature trees are removed.

The Grow Local: Illawarra Native Garden Guide provides advice on appropriate local native species.

How long does a Tree Permit last?

​A permit is valid for two years from the date of issue stated on the permit.

Can you tell me when my application will be completed?

​Applications are generally processed within 10 working days from payment of the application fee. You can contact Council’s Customer Service to check on the status of the application.
However, at times delays may occur if the application is incomplete or additional information is required in order to process the application.  Some applications have access arrangements requirements and this too may cause a delay in the process of an application.

I’m not happy with the decision on the Permit. What can I do?

​If an application is refused, or part refused, an applicant who is dissatisfied with Council’s decision can lodge an application for review of the determination within 12 months from the date of issue on the original permit.  Any review must be supported by relevant documentation from an appropriately qualified consultant such as an arborist/ structural engineer, depending on the reasons for this request.  In some circumstances and appeal with the Land and Environment Court can be lodged.

For more information, go to Application for Review of Tree Management Permit Determination.

How can I tell if someone has permission to remove or prune a tree/s?

​Contact Council’s Customer Service, who will be able to carry out a search of the property details – this will show whether an application has been lodged by way of a Tree Management Application or Development Application.
Alternatively customers can complete an online service request: Tree Removal Complaint.

My tree is dangerous. Do I still need permission to prune/remove it?

​In situations where a tree poses an immediate and obvious threat of injury to persons or damage to property, the following procedure should be followed.

Remedial action can be carried out to make a tree safe by Council, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service or other infrastructure authority/emergency service authority in response to an emergency.  In such instances the property owner is required to be able to support the immediacy of the danger of the tree such as witnessed by Council, SES, RFS or other infrastructure authority/emergency service authority.

Alternatively a report by a person qualified in arboriculture including photographic evidence, or a statutory declaration from third parties should be obtained.

A Tree Management Permit application must be lodged with Council for the removal or further pruning of a tree within 72 hours from the date of the emergency remedial works for any tree upon private land, including the submission of documentary evidence as described above which proves the tree is dangerous to human life or property.

Can I prune or remove trees to prepare for bush fires?

​The NSW government has introduced ‘10/50’ legislation that allows residents in certain areas to prepare for bush fires by clearing vegetation from around their home. To find out what’s allowed, and whether your home is in an approved area, visit the NSW Rural Fire Service website

A tree on my land's obscuring my view or blocking sunlight. What can I do?

​Most tree species can be pruned by a qualified arborist so that filtered sunlight can penetrate through thinning of the tree canopy. This is called cosmetic pruning. Permission may be granted where such work will not compromise the health, safety or integrity of the tree or adversely affect amenity. Pruning consent would be conditioned that all work undertaken must be undertaken by a qualified arborist.
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