There are over 70,000 trees on public streets and hundreds of thousands more within Newcastle’s local government area. The City of Newcastle (CN) consider trees to be significant capital assets. They are as much part of the community infrastructure as roads and footpaths. All existing trees, new plantings and potential planting sites are recorded in CN's Tree Asset Management System.
We are responsible for the city’s public trees. This includes:
- Visual tree assessments and reports
- Pruning young trees to create good form and structure
- Weed control at the base of trees
- Pruning mature trees where required
- Tree removal where required.
If a public tree requires maintenance, has suffered damage, or appears to be causing damage to a footpath you can contact us on 4974 2000 or complete an online customer request form to report the matter. We will assess the situation and determine the need for maintenance and the priority of any work required.
You should not prune or remove public trees yourself. The NSW Local Government Act 1993 makes it an offence to interfere with a plant in a public place.
- Damaging public trees (includes poisoning), disturbing or removing a tree can be a breach of the NSW Local Government Act 1993 , Protection of Environmental Operations Act 1997 and/or the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
- Anyone found to have damaged, disturbed or removed a public tree without consent may be fined or prosecuted, which may result in penalties and a civil conviction.
- Maximum Penalty imposed by Local Court - $100,000
- Maximum on-the-spot Penalty Infringement Notice (PIN- imposed by CN) - $3,000
- Maximum Penalty imposed by Land and Environment Court - $1.1 million
For a claim to be considered, evidence must be provided to us for consideration. The onus lies on the claimant to provide sufficient evidence or proof to substantiate their claim. This requires providing photographs, professional experts' reports (eg consulting arborist's report or a plumber's report or other extrinsic evidence) to demonstrate our trees have directly caused the alleged damage. Below you will find a guide as to the minimum documentary evidence required by us for claims relating to alleged damage to driveway crossovers on public land, fences or walls along property boundaries, sewer and stormwater and structures alleged to have been caused by our trees.
It is highly unlikely CN will be liable to pay compensation for claims relating to:
- Shedding - trees are a natural part of the environment and the shedding action of trees is beyond our control.
- Weather events - weather events are out of our control and considered an Act of God.
CN suggest you contact your insurance company directly to make a claim relating to shedding or weather events.
Should you wish to make a claim, please complete the claim for compensation form. Please include all relevant documentation and photos of the alleged accident/incident to support your claim.
Completion and acceptance of your ‘Claim for Compensation’ form does not represent an admission of liability or a waiver of its rights on the part of CN. We will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident to establish whether or not we have any legal liability. Your claim will be subject to investigation and assessed on its merits.
The process of investigation and determination can take 6 to 8 weeks. Sometimes there are delays in obtaining information which is beyond our control (i.e. information required from third parties, contractors or witnesses). We endeavour to respond to claims as quickly as possible; but claims brought in negligence are often complicated and we ask for your patience and co-operation during this time.