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Exceptional trees

By Jazz - 21 September 2005 22

Its a rare occaision that I listen to the news, mostly because it is stuff happening elsewhere that I couldn’t care about. Thismorning however seemed to be an exception as it alerted me to legislation set to be passed this week to protect Canberra’s exceptional trees.

The estimated 500,000 trees in Canberra will all be assesed with about 16000 going on the initial register. The legislation also makes it very clear on the penalties for damaging one of the protected ones with fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and covers stuff like damage around the tree which leads to its death and quarantine of that land – something sure to make developers take notice.

An advisory panel set up by Comrade Stanhope will make recommendations with the Conservator of Flora and Fauna in the ACT (currently DR Maxine Cooper – who is about to be a very busy girl) making the final call.

The current legislation essentially protects all trees over 12m, so if your timing is good you can get in and lop down that big eucalypt hanging precariously over your house as the legislation changes

CT have some more details here

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Exceptional trees
Maelinar 9:02 am 22 Sep 05

I really hope that the SES doesn’t get in trouble for cutting up ‘protected’ trees when they are doing their job.

seepi 7:10 pm 21 Sep 05

If they really want to save tress why don’t they actually look after the street tress, which have shrivelled up through the drought.
Or the ones which are chopped to nothing for hte powerlines. And then let people do what they like in their own yards.

Thumper 4:15 pm 21 Sep 05

Being in SES we see many many trees that should have been lopped or cut down, generally because they happen to be laying on someones house, garage, car, or driveway.

in fact I’ve got a scary big bad boy of a gum right across from my house and after writing a letter to the government about it, recieved a letter saying that it would be looked at.

It was still there this morning and I wrote the letter months and months ago.

Some sort of logic has to be applied in this case. canberra suburbs are genrally a metre or so of soil on top of shale or granite. As such the euc doesn’t get his roots into the ground very far and instead forms a huge bulb which is not very stable. it rains, the earth gets soft, the wind blows, and down comes the tree.

Not good near a house.

Otherwise, i’m happy for the trees to stay.

Absent Diane 4:10 pm 21 Sep 05

Let me know how you go evil…. I want my nice bit of wood heritage listed – mostly to attract lots of visitors that will bring lots friends on a regular basis and won’t hang around

ssanta 3:12 pm 21 Sep 05

I had to pop along to a few of them. Most of the meetings and the concerns for old trees was along the lines of birds and possums, and the occasional scarred tree by the local indigneous tribes around the ACT.

A few comments were also raised about the need for our bush capital to have some old trees to provide charachter. Which i agree with. But there have been galring exceptions to this such as the GDR (which needed to happen. so a few trees is an acceptable loss in my book).

Most negative comments were along the lines of what happens if it falls on my house, or power lines. these comments were met by ‘its really your problem , in your backyard so build a bridge and get over it’.

This legislations is basically an add-on to the signifcant tree register which currently runs the ACT aborism bits (and is very f**king annoying).

Overall, it really drags the ACT kicking and screaming into line with the rest of the states and principalities in Aust. It will also provide a clearer mechanism to dispute rulings made by Govt officials as to wether the tree can be chopped or not. At the moment you have tio prove that the tree is diseased for it to go, but there are no guidelines that actually allow for a tree toi be considered diseased as it actually stands.
Sorry about the spelling to those who continually pull me up for it, but really you can go and get stuffed!

Jazz 2:18 pm 21 Sep 05

lol. Be careful.

Should your wood be listed as exceptional, any tampering by humans could mean that it is quarantined for a few years.

Mr Evil 2:14 pm 21 Sep 05

Great, I’ll pop it out for them tomorrow!

Jazz 2:04 pm 21 Sep 05

Apparently so Mr Evil. submissions may be made by members of the community for consideration.

Mr Evil 1:40 pm 21 Sep 05

I’ve sometimes thought to myself that I’ve got an exceptional piece of wood: do you think Jon will let me register it? 😉

che 1:26 pm 21 Sep 05

I know we put something up on RiotACT (can’t remember if it was old or new) when this legislation was first introduced but for the life of me I cannot find it to put up again

anyone else want to have a go, it was all about the remarkable and exceptional tree register

Thumper 12:59 pm 21 Sep 05

Good point Evil…

The odd tree got killed during that episode.

Thumper 12:58 pm 21 Sep 05

My god,

only Stanhope, sorry, or Latham, could have come out with a rant like that when all he needed to do was say that his government was protecting trees, which I think is a good thing.

That is a serious rant. Porcupine boy is becoming slightly irrational to go with his streak of the bizarre.

Did anyone not know about the consultation according to Jon? Perhaps a knitting club in Hall?

Mr Evil 12:53 pm 21 Sep 05

I imagine that there were possibly some very significant trees along Bruce Ridge, but I don’t recall Comrade giving a rat’s arse when they were being bulldozed.

Indi 12:39 pm 21 Sep 05

LOL – Commrade indicates that his Party is “the only party with a vision for the future that involves anything but vistas of concrete and paving”.

He is joking of course!

Kerces 12:33 pm 21 Sep 05

Jon Stanhope’s put out a media release (not yet online so reproduced below) saying the Liberals and Greens clearly don’t care about trees, exceptional or otherwise, because they haven’t bothered to understand the legislation or its background (well, according to Stanhope).

ENVIRONMENTAL CREDENTIALS OF LIBS, GREENS IN TATTERS
The environmental credentials of both the Liberal Opposition and Greens MLA Deb Foskey were in tatters today, and it was patently clear that neither party was remotely concerned about the future of Canberra’s trees, Environment Minister Jon Stanhope said.

“The sheer ignorance displayed by both parties over the past two days in relation to the Government’s tree protection legislation has beggared belief, Mr Stanhope said today.

“The depths of the Liberals’ ignorance was highlighted yesterday, during Assembly debate, when it emerged that none of the Liberals present in the House was aware that the Government tree protection Bill they characterised as ‘draconian’ was in fact an amelioration of an interim scheme put in place by none other than the current Liberal Opposition leader, Brendan Smyth.

“If the Liberals think the Government’s Bill is tough, goodness knows how much sleep they must have lost over the scheme they personally put in place. They must be flagellating themselves.”

Mr Stanhope said he had been equally astonished to hear Greens MLA Deb Foskey opining today on the lack of consultation on the Bill.

“For a so-called environmentalist, Dr Foskey seems not to have had her finger on the pulse of things at all on the years leading up to her election to the Assembly,” Mr Stanhope said. “One would have thought that someone who sets themselves up as a guardian of the environment, as Dr Foskey so piously does, would have had some glancing familiarity with a consultation process that has been going on for three years, and that has involved everyone from the arboriculture industry, tree protection groups, architects, developers, surveyors, the Conservation Council and the Heritage Council, among others.

“Anyone and everyone with an interest in the protection of trees has had ample opportunity to have their views taken into consideration. And that includes, incidentally, the company that employs the arborist who was on local radio this morning, claiming that he had never heard of the Bill. My information is that this company, a tree-felling company, in common with every other arboricultural business listed in the Yellow Pages, was sent a copy of the discussion paper and invited to face-to-face briefings.”

Mr Stanhope said that the consultation over the Bill had been long and thorough. A discussion paper, prepared in consultation with ACT for Trees and members of the development sector, had been released in October 2003 and had been publicly available via the Internet as well as through shopfronts and public libraries. Community comments were invited for two months after the release of the paper.

Among those involved in the consultation were:
• ACT for Trees;
• arboriculturalists;
• the development industry;
• landscape architects;
• the Institute of Spatial Surveyors;
• the Housing Industry Association;
• the Property Council;
• the Environmental Defender’s Office;
• the Conservation Council;
• the Commissioner for the Environment;
• the Heritage Council; and
• the Majura, West Belconnen, Manuka, Burley Griffin, Ginninderra and Inner North Local Area Planning Committees.

Public meetings were also held. Past and present tree advisors including Dr Robert Boden and Dr John Banks were significantly involved in the preparation of the discussion paper, the Bill and the criteria.

“It is astounding that this long and elaborate process could have occurred without the knowledge of Dr Foskey, and that she could now stand up in the Legislative Assembly and protest about the lack of consultation.

“This Bill is one of the most exhaustively, comprehensively and rigorously prepared pieces of legislation conceivable. It is one thing for the Government’s political opponents to misrepresent the Bill for political ends, but it is quite another for the alternative government in this Territory to reveal itself as so ill-informed, so inept and so poorly prepared, that it seems unaware of its own role in the evolution of this legislation.

“The Liberals know very well that their criticisms of the Bill are groundless and that their unconscionable claims about the effects of the Bill on ordinary home owners are highly coloured and alarmist. Their behaviour has been nothing short of despicable.

“What this episode has clearly revealed is that Labor is the only party in this Territory that has the slightest understanding of the environmental and cultural value of exceptional Canberra trees, the only party with a sense of this city’s history, and the only party with a vision for the future that involves anything but vistas of concrete and paving.”

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