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Tree protection law changes in the ACT


Yesterday, MBA ACT hosted the Urban Forest team to discuss the changes to the tree protection laws in the ACT.  The Urban Forest Act 2023 has replaced the Tree Protection Act 2005 which includes updated and additional requirements aimed at improving tree protection in both public areas and private land in the Territory.  Members will be familiar with the Urban Forest Strategy 2021-2045 which sets out the ACT Government’s vision for a resilient and sustainable urban forest.

A summary of the new requirements under the Urban Forest Act 2023 is provided below:

  • reducing the size requirements for protected trees on private land
  • protecting dead native trees that provide essential habitat elements for local fauna
  • classifying all trees on public land as protected
  • tree planting to replace lost canopy when a protected tree is approved for removal
  • requiring a financial contribution for any protected trees approved for removal that cannot be replanted on site
  • mandating the inclusion of Tree Management Plans in all Development Applications where a protected tree may be impacted
  • introducing a tree bond system to ensure protected trees are not damaged during construction work as our city continues to grow
  • increasing penalties for people caught damaging a protected tree or breaching a Tree Management Plan or direction, and
  • expanding the ACT Tree Register which celebrates and protects our most significant trees.

Further information about tree protection requirements can be found here: Trees – City Services (

A copy of the presentation can be accessed here, and the webinar can watched via YouTube or by clicking here.

MBA ACT has raised concerns with the transition periods provided under the legislation and is continuing its discussions with ACT Government.

For further information regarding the changes, please reach out to the Workplace Relations and Legal Team on 6175 5900.