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Removing trees can be dangerous work. Professional arborists are the experts who can safely prune, trim, remove and manage trees – as well as stumps and roots.

Licensing of Arborists

In Australia, arborists do not need a licence to practice arboriculture. However, WorkCover New South Wales, the Tree Contractors Association of Australia, the National Arborists Association of Australia and the Local Government Tree Resources Association recommend that professional arborists have:

  • Current workers compensation insurance, with WIC code 95250
  • Current public liability insurance
  • Minimum qualification of Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture) for ground and climbing work
  • Minimum qualification of Certificate III in Horticulture (Arboriculture) for supervisors of climbing work.

It is also important that the arborist carries out his or her work to satisfy the WorkCover Code of Practice: Amenity Tree Industry 1998.

Arborist – NSW

In New South Wales – as in all other states and territories – there is no specific licence for arborists. That being said, the arborist you choose should have:

  • A business licence
  • Insurance
  • A relevant qualification

A business licence provides peace of mind that the arborist is operating as a legal business entity. A current workers compensation insurance policy and public liability insurance policy protects you if the arborist damages your property (or a neighbour’s). It also safeguards you if someone is injured when the work is being done. The arborist – and anyone in their team carrying out ground or tree climbing work – should have a relevant qualification, as listed in the section above.

Arborist – Victoria

Although Victorian arborists do not need a licence, they should represent a professional business and hold the proper insurance and minimum qualification as listed above. You can also ask the arborist for proof of their competence, such as images of recent projects, references or their ABN number. This can provide assurance that your arborist is experienced and has built a solid reputation for safe and successful work.

In Victoria, according to most council regulations, any tree location within 10 metres of a property can be removed without permission from council. There can be other restrictions, however, so contact your local council for specific guidelines.

Arborist – Queensland

As with all other Australian states and territories, arborists and tree workers in Queensland do not need a licence to work.

Still, you’ll want to ensure the arborist is licenced and qualified to prune, remove or manage trees on your property. If the contractor hasn’t obtained a minimum Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture), they could cause considerable damage to your home, or a neighbouring property. You could even be liable for the costs associated with that damage.

It is also wise to check the arborist’s insurances. They must be able to show you a current (that is, under 12 months old) Certificate of Currency for Workers Compensation Insurance when submitting their quote. Review the legal and trading names and ABN against the information provided in the quote. Also ensure the WIC cod is 95250.

Arborist – SA

Arborists in South Australia do not need a licence to carry out work. However, every job they undertake should meet the requirements stipulated in the WorkCover Code of Practice: Amenity Tree Industry 1998.

Since a licence is not required, you may like to contact your local council, as they may have regulations for tree removal. For example, some councils allow dead or dying trees to be removed without permission. However, you will likely need to hire a professional arborist for the job.

As in other states, you should check the arborist has:

  • Public liability and workers compensation insurance
  • A licence to carry out a business
  • At least a Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture)
  • An on-site supervisor who has at least a Certificate III in Horticulture (Arboriculture)

Arborist – WA

As tree work can be dangerous, only a professional arborist should conduct it. And while arborists in Western Australia are not required by law to have a licence, you should check that they have:

  • A minimum qualification of a Certificate II in Horticulture (Arboriculture)
  • Insurances to protect you in case there is damage to property
  • A solid reputation for safely and reliably pruning, removing and managing trees

Your local council is an important source, and you should check their specific regulations around pruning and removing trees.

When requesting a quote from an arborist, ensure they provide their contact information and ABN. Also check their workers compensation certificate – ensure it is current and contains the correct ABN and WIC code – 95250.

Arborist – Tasmania

Tasmania is similar to other states, in that arborists do not need a licence to work. However, your local council will likely have a set of regulations that must be followed.

For instance, if tree work is done within 3 metres of a power line, the arborist must be accredited and have a recognised qualification. Ensure the arborist supplies you with this information.

Safety is imperative when it comes to tree work. While the contractor will assess the property for hazards before they begin, you should let them know of anything that may cause damage or harm to people or property, such as plumbing or gas.

Arborist – ACT

Licensing for arborists in the ACT and Canberra is the same as other states and territories – it simply is not required. So you should do your homework before selecting a contactor.

You can do this by checking that they hold:

  • Relevant insurances, such as public liability and workers compensation
  • A business licence and have an ABN
  • A recognised qualification, such as a Certificate II or III in Horticulture (Arboriculture)

While the contractor should always put safety first, anyone else on your property should keep clear of the work area. If you or another person ignores the contractor’s safety stipulations, you could be injured – or liable for any damage or injuries.

Arborist - Northern Territory

In the Northern Territory, a licence is not required to prune or remove trees – or carry out related tree work. That being said, it is important to select a professional arborist. Only they have the tools, experience, skills and qualifications to properly manage or remove trees, stumps and roots.

You can check these criteria with your local council. You may need permission to remove a tree if its trunk exceeds a stipulated diameter. Certain species are also protected, while trees in fire-prone areas attract unique regulations.

The contractor must also be able to supply you with proof of insurances, a recognised qualification any references or photos at your request. Also check that your arborist is running a legal, registered business. They can provide all of this information at the time of quoting.

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