Published Tuesday, 29 March 2022

UniSA has recently released an Energy and Buildings Report which further supports the call for increasing green canopy across Australia and aligns with the State Planning Commission’s mandatory tree planting and landscaping requirements, which came into effect with the Planning and Design Code in March 2021.

These mandatory tree planting policies are an important first step towards achieving greater green canopy across South Australia as at least 1 tree and 15% of soft landscaping is now required for new residential developments on blocks of 200 square metres and up to 4 trees and 25% soft landscaping on blocks of 800 square metres. (see diagram above)

The Commission has also initiated an Open Spaces and Trees Project to look at ways to enhance the Code’s green policies. As part of this Project we have engaged an arborist to examine the current list of tree species exempt from regulated tree controls. The Project will consider trees that are capable of growing to the size of a regulated tree or larger (trunk with circumference of 2 metres or more, or multiple trunks with total circumference of 2 metres or more, measured 1 metre above ground) and are commonly occurring in urban areas. We are also seeking the arborist’s advice on whether the genus ‘Eucalyptus’ should be extended to include trees within the genera ‘Corymbia’ and ‘Angophora’, given the close association and similarities between those three genera.

In addition, we have commissioned the University of Adelaide to undertake a review of the Conservation Council SA Report on Tree Laws to consider and compare the regulatory provisions in local government areas across South Australia and Australia, including the:

  • definition of Protected (Regulated or Significant) Trees
  • exemptions to the definition of Protected (Regulated or Significant) Trees
  • pruning requirements
  • use of Significant Tree registers
  • process for assessment of applications to remove Protected Trees
  • penalties for removal or tree-damaging works to a Protected (Regulated or Significant) Tree without development approval.

We look forward to working with South Australia’s new Government and the Minister for Planning to improve our urban greening policies and attain the tree canopy targets set in The 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide. We will continue to consult with the Department for Environment and Water (DEW), Green Adelaide (GA) and Adelaide Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium (BGSH) as we progress these important initiatives.

See all news