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South Australia tree-law created perverse incentive: law was to protect native species of large trees; had reverse effect: smaller trees cut to avoid the law

Posted by gmarkets on 9 October, 2007

River red gums and other native indigenous species such as blue gums, hundreds of years old were being cut down without any consideration as to their ecological or amenity value in South Australia, Paul Holloway, Minister for Police, told the Legislative Council, South Australia on 11 September 2007. “Many people are aware of this issue;

• if they have a tree or are buying a property, they measure a tree around the girth and, if it is close to two metres, will immediately bring out the chainsaw and cut it down so they will not have the bother of dealing with the council and this legislation; Whereas

• the current legislation was to protect native species of large trees, in some cases it can have the reverse effect because people cut down trees before they are two metres in girth in order to avoid this legislation.

Speaking to the South Australia Development (Regulated Trees) Amendment Bill – The Hon. Paul Holloway (Minister for Police) said “fast growing eastern states’ gum species, like spotted gums and lemon scented gums that have been planted around some of our suburbs, often inappropriately planted next to houses where they create all sorts of trouble as they grow big quickly.. ( this Bill) originally it was made clear (and had the support of the opposition) (was) essentially it was to protect native species, in particular the river red gums. “We know that in many cases it will have the reverse impact of what the legislation intends as it will encourage people to cut down rather than keep trees approaching two metres on properties
Clause passed. Clauses 2 and 3 passed. Progress reported; committee was to sit again.

Reference: Paul Holloway, Minister for Police, Legislative Council, South Australia, 11 September 2007.

Erisk Net, 29/9/2007

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