Regulated/significant trees and native vegetation

In the City of Onkaparinga, the state government’s native vegetation legislation applies, and can take precedence to regulated and significant trees. Generally, the native vegetation legislation needs to be considered first and the relevant authority is the Native Vegetation Unit within the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) and the Native Vegetation Council. If the vegetation is exempt from needing clearance approval under the Native Vegetation Act and Regulations, then the regulated and significant tree provisions of the Development Act and Regulations may apply (not both).

Regulated and significant trees

In November 2011, the state government introduced changes to the Development Act and Regulations, and also the Development Plan, for regulated and significant trees.

A regulated tree is any tree with a trunk circumference of 2.0m or more (measured at a point 1.0m above natural ground level). In the case of trees with multiple trunks, regulated trees are those with trunks having a total circumference of 2.0m or more and an average circumference of 625mm or more (measured at a point 1.0m above natural ground level).

A significant tree is a regulated tree with a trunk circumference of 3.0m or more (measured at a point 1.0m above natural ground level). In the case of trees with multiple trunks, significant trees are those with trunks having a total circumference of 3.0m or more and an average circumference of 625mm or more (measured at a point 1.0m above natural ground level).

Some trees may be exempt from regulated and significant tree controls either because of their location or their species.

Regulated and significant trees must not be damaged without development approval. Tree damaging activities include:

  • removal
  • killing or destruction
  • ringbarking, topping or lopping
  • severing of branches, limbs, stems or trunk
  • any other substantial damage to a tree including its root system.

Maintenance pruning does not require development approval if:

  • it is not likely to affect adversely the general health and appearance of a tree
  • it does not remove more than 30% of the crown of the tree and it is required to remove dead or diseased wood, or to remove branches that pose a material risk to a building or areas frequently used by people.

For more information, including exemptions to these controls, please read the information sheet from the Department of Planning and Local Government or contact our Development Services staff on (08) 8384 0666.

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