Tree clearing on private property
  • Last updated:
  • 26 Mar 2019

It is an offence to damage or remove protected trees and plants on private property and penalties may apply.

You must get approval from council to remove protected vegetation. This includes cutting down trees.

Find out if your property has protected vegetation please consult the vegetation management code within the Sunshine Coast planning scheme.

Applying for approval to remove vegetation

To apply to remove protected vegetation you must prepare and submit DA Form 1 to council. This form is available on the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning website.

You can lodge your application in person, by email or by post.

Lodged applications may be viewed on Development.i.


You do not need approval if vegetation removal is covered by another permit, such as:

  • operational works engineering or landscaping
  • operational works bulk earthworks
  • operational works stormwater and drainage.

Regulation of protected vegetation

In addition to being protected by the planning scheme, vegetation may be protected by:

  • covenants
  • drainage easements
  • development approval conditions.

If you have remnant vegetation on your property; such as areas of intact native bush or heath land, you may need a permit from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

All marine plants; such as mangroves, are protected under Queensland's Fisheries Act 1994. For more information visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.

Neighbouring trees and overhanging branches

Trees that are located on property boundaries are subject to the Queensland Government's Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act 2011 that provides advice for neighbours to help resolve disputes about dividing fences and trees.

The Act states that proper care and maintenance of a tree is the responsibility of the owner of the tree. It provides choices for neighbours on how to resolve tree issues such as overhanging branches. 

According to the Act, it is up to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to deal with these issues. 

More information

For more information, contact council's development services.