Thursday, 19 October 2023


Tree removal

Nicholas McGOWAN

Tree removal

Nicholas McGOWAN (North-Eastern Metropolitan) (18:25): (531) On 16 October I received a letter from the mayor of the City of Monash, one of the councils in my electorate. It is a concerning letter and issue, and I quote from the letter directly:

One of the key issues consistently raised by our community is the concern of the loss of gardens and canopy trees and more recently the increase in urban heat that results from this reduction in greenery.

For over five years this council – and this should be a council that those opposite are very familiar with – has sought new controls. That is, they have sought the right to govern over their own people to the extent that councils can. They have sought that from this state government, and they have been consistently denied that. They have had no success, and they are at their wits’ end.

In particular, the council go on to say, and they share with me, that they express their extreme and growing frustration with:

• The Department of Transport and Planning failing to properly and equitably consider Monash Council’s strategically justified and repeated requests for tree controls …

• Lengthy and ongoing delays in implementation of consistent state-wide tree removal and greening controls; and

• The absence of any outcomes on action 91 – Cooling and Greening of Plan Melbourne

That is Labor’s plan – Labor’s own plan.

On 23 February 2021 council resolved to note the various actions that have been undertaken by their officers since 2009 to liaise with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, DELWP, and to implement the Monash Urban Landscape and Canopy Vegetation Strategy – as rightly they should; that is their task in part. Council also resolved to write to the minister. Well, on 23 June 2003 the Minister for Planning refused C153. It is noteworthy that similar controls just across the border in the City of Whitehorse do exist. So we have a double standard here. These are frustrating delays for this council. These delays, and I quote from this document here:

… are doubly frustrating given the recent State Government comments in The Age newspaper that tree controls are the responsibility of local Councils through their planning schemes …

And here we have a council which for five years now have sought to implement schemes in the best interests of their constituents. There is a need for action. Now, two years on after refusal and after they have also put an interim scheme and amendment, C153, to the minister, they have yet to hear from this government. The action I seek is immediate action from the planning minister to either approve the council’s current request for interim tree removal controls across Monash through the significant landscape overlay amendment C165 or to implement the proposed statewide tree removal controls as a matter of urgency.