Canberra’s Tough New Laws to Protect Urban Forest and Increase Penalties for Tree Damage


Summary: Canberra’s government falls behind in tree planting, faces challenges of illegal tree removal and parking on nature strips. New laws will protect more trees and increase fines for damaging them.

Canberra’s urban forest expansion has been hindered by poor weather, staff shortages, and community opposition to new trees. The government fell behind schedule, planting 5,350 fewer trees than intended. Illegal removal of street trees and damage to trees pose threats to the urban forest. The government aims to have tree canopies covering 30% of suburban areas by 2045. Parking on nature strips is illegal and harms tree growth, but remains a common practice. Tougher tree protection laws will go into effect next year, increasing penalties for damaging trees. New laws will protect smaller trees on private property and large, dead, native trees to provide habitat for animals. The maximum fine for intentionally damaging a tree will be increased to $80,000. Balancing urban forest growth with higher density housing poses challenges, including the need to provide solar access while protecting trees.

Tags: Canberra, urban forest, tree planting, tree damage, illegal removal, tree protection laws, penalties, parking on nature strips, housing density, sustainability