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Urban Forest Bill 2022 Update


This week the ACT Government introduced the Urban Forest Bill after consultation with industry and the community earlier this year.

As a result of industry submissions, we have been successful in securing transitional provisions, with the new Bill to commence on 1 July 2023 (subject to be passed by the Legislative Assembly).

Reporting and review requirements have been updated to include a review of the Act after it has been in operation for two years, this will ensure we measure our progress towards protecting the urban forest.

Other changes to the Bill include:

  • Exemptions from the canopy contribution framework will apply automatically for applicants who receive approval to remove a tree under urgent circumstances, to remove a dead tree, or to remove a tree where replanting advice has been issued under the Heritage Act 2004 to streamline the exemption process
  • Extra safeguards have been added including clear review rights for representative Aboriginal organisations on cultural trees and clear statements that offences will not apply where a person could not comply with the law due to a reasonable excuse. This will uphold cultural rights and offer fair and reasonable treatment to all.

The MBA remains concerned that the Bill will add hundreds more applications into an assessment system which is already struggling to cope with the current levels of building activity. Incorporating revised tree protection laws into the ACT planning review could have achieved the same objectives without adding more applications, complexity and likely delays to the system. We will continue to work with the Government on the implementation of the Bill.

The Urban Forest Bill 2022 can be viewed here. Updates will continue to be provided via the YourSay page.