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Tree Removal

Tree Removal

Tree removal requires the skills of specialists in the field. Tree removal experts often have to work at dangerous heights, cutting trees from the top down without endangering themselves or others. When the tree has been cut down, they may need to remove the trunk and roots. At every stage of the process, safety must be a top priority.

Licensing of Tree Removal Services

Tree removal does not require a trade licence in Australia. However, councils throughout Australia strictly regulate what types of trees can be removed and council approval is required to remove some tree species, living trees and/or mature trees over a certain height or diameter. Councils also strongly recommend hiring only trained tree removal services recommended by Arboriculture Australia, the National Arborist Association of Australia (NAAA), the Tree Contractors Association of Australia or another nationally or internationally recognised arborist association.

Ask any tree removal service you get a quote from to provide you with proof that they have:

  • Workers compensation insurance (WIC code 95250);
  • Current public liability insurance;
  • Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture) training for ground and climbing work; and
  • Certificate III in Horticulture (Arboriculture) qualifications if they are supervising climbing work.

Types of Tree Removal Jobs

There are many reasons why you might want to have a tree removed. In an effort to protect the environment and the natural beauty of Australia, most councils limit the acceptable reasons for having a tree removed to:

  • Dead trees
  • Nuisance trees (usually species that endanger indigenous flora)
  • Trees that pose a danger
  • Trees that stand near power lines
  • Removal of fallen trees after storms

You may also get council permission to remove a tree that stands in the way of a building project, but tree removal for the sake of improving a view is usually not sufficient reason for getting council approval.

Some tree removal jobs involve removing the tree from ground level up only. In other cases, part or all of the root system will have to be removed as well. Usually, this is done by a process called “stump grinding” that requires special equipment and skills.

Tree Removal – NSW

As is true in other states, a specific licence is not needed for tree removal in New South Wales. However, tree removal services are businesses and should be licensed as such. There are three business licence categories in NSW:

  1. Individual
  2. Partnership
  3. Company

At the very least, your service should have both public liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. Their insurance is your assurance that you won’t be held liable for any accidents or injuries that may occur when trees are being removed on your behalf.

To be sure you are hiring a service that operates safely and efficiently, get quotes from established businesses with track records of professional service.

Tree Removal - Victoria

Victorian tree removal services do not require trade licences. However, they should provide proof that they conduct their business in a professional manner. At a minimum, they should:

  • Have public liability and workers compensation insurance
  • Hold a business licence
  • Have Certificate II and III qualifications as outlined above

Many arborists and tree removal services in Victoria also belong to a professional trade association.

Check with your local council before removing trees in Victoria. You may need council permission first. Heavy fines can be imposed for removal of trees that are removed without council permission. If council approval is needed, a competent tree removal service can help you through the process.

Tree Removal - Queensland

In Queensland, all native trees are protected under the Nature Conservation Act. A special licence is required for harvesting trees for commercial purposes and a council permit may be required to remove “amenity trees” (decorative, shade and other trees in populated areas). Trees standing on personal property are often exempt from the permit requirement in Brisbane and other large urban areas, but there are exceptions. Always check with your local council or tree removal service first.

Trees can be removed without council permission in an emergency situation such as following a flood. However, council may require you to provide photographic evidence and/or an arborist’s report. The report must be produced by an arborist who is:

  • Qualified to Level 5 Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) in arboriculture and
  • Insured for $10 million public liability and $2 million professional indemnity.

As is true in other states, tree removal services do not have to be licensed in Queensland. They should, however, be able to prove their competence and professionalism in other ways. Only hire a service that is:

  • A legal business entity
  • Insured (public and professional liability and workers compensation)
  • Established in your area as a trusted service
  • Trained to at least Certificate II or III levels as outlined above

Tree Removal - SA

A licence is not required for tree removal in South Australia. However, strict regulations are in place in Adelaide and other areas of South Australia that make it an offence to remove mature native trees over specific trunk diameters or tree heights. Council permission is required to remove most native species and arborists and tree removal services are obligated to meet the requirements of the WorkCover Code of Practice: Amenity Tree Industry 1998.

Most reputable tree removal services in South Australia operate as part of a more all-inclusive arboriculture service and will offer pruning, stump grinding and other services as well as tree removal. A professional service will always:

  • Have public liability and workers compensation insurance
  • A business licence
  • A Certificate II or III in Horticulture (Arboriculture)

Many reputable tree removal services in South Australia also belong to the South Australian Society of Arboriculture and may be affiliated with other nationally or internationally recognised professional associations.

Tree Removal – WA

As is true throughout Australia, tree removal services do not require a special trade licence to operate in Western Australia. Reputable tree removalists in WA usually provide a variety of arboriculture services, including:

  • Tree felling,
  • Pruning,
  • Stump grinding,
  • Tree inspections,
  • Pest control and other related services.

Some tree removalists also provide services to government authorities and may be approved contractors for the Forestry Commission or other authorities.

At a minimum, a tree removal service in WA should have:

  • All the necessary equipment needed to do their job safely and efficiently
  • Public liability insurance and workers compensation insurance
  • Verifiable references

You may need to get council permission to have your tree removed. A qualified tree removalist will be able to help you through the approval process and will have the skill and experience needed to remove your tree or trees safely and in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.

Tree Removal - Tasmania

Tasmania takes pride in their beautiful forests and tree-lined suburbs and most councils in Tasmania have strict regulations in place to protect their environment. Many councils restrict removal of trees even on private property. It may be an offence to remove a tree that is greater than 10 metres in height or has a spread of 6 metres or more without council approval in your area and other restrictions may apply. Check with your local council before removing any tree from your property.

Arborists and tree removalists do not require a licence in Tasmania, but most reputable services will be legal business entities and in some instances may need to be accredited by the Department of Justice to perform some types of work, such as tree lopping or felling within 3 metres of a power line.

Reputable tree removalists in Tasmania will be fully insured and have Certificate II and III Horticulture (Arboriculture) training from a recognised training organisation.

Tree Removal – ACT

Under the Tree Protection Act 2005, trees on private property in the ACT can be either Registered or Regulated:

  • Registered trees have heritage or aesthetic value
  • Regulated trees are trees that are 12 metres or more in height, have trunks greater than 1.5 metres in circumference (measured from one metre above ground level) or are 12 metres or more in crown width

Other conditions apply as well, but the purpose of the Act is to protect trees. You must obtain council approval to remove both Registered and Regulated trees.

Tree removal services do not require a licence in the ACT, so it’s up to you to choose a competent and professional service. Any tree removalist you hire should carry liability insurance and workers compensation insurance (WIC code 95250). Also check that they hold a current Australian Business Number (ABN) and if they operate as a business under an assumed name, they should have the appropriate business licence.

A qualified tree removalist in the ACT will have Certificate II and/or III training (see “Licensing of Tree Removal Services” above). Many offer more extensive arboriculture services and belong to professional trade associations.

Tree Removal - Northern Territory

Tree removal services in the Northern Territory do not require a trade licence. To ensure you choose a competent and professional service, make sure they have an ABN and/or a business licence and are fully insured. See “Licensing of Tree Removal Services” at the top of this page for more information about insurance and qualifications.

Tree removal can be dangerous to workers, property and others in the vicinity. A competent tree removalist will have the necessary equipment and experience to safely remove a tree even in a confined space where the tree must be lopped from the top down. If stump or root removal is also required, they will have stump grinding and other equipment to help them efficiently do their job.

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