Removing vegetation (trees and shrubs) after the Bunyip State Park bushfires

In accordance with state government legislation, if your property was impacted by the bushfires and you have burnt trees around your house that you believe could:

  • cause injury
  • damage property

you do not need a planning permit to make them safe. (This does not necessarily mean cutting them down altogether).

If the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property, only that part of the vegetation that presents a risk may be removed, destroyed or lopped.

You can also remove the following without a permit (regardless of whether it presents an immediate risk):

  • Within a 10 metres radius around a house:  All vegetation can be removed.
  • Within a radius of over 10 metres and up to 30 metres: Everything except for trees can be removed, if the house was constructed before 10 September 2009. If your property is in an area where a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies, a total of 50 metres can be cleared. Please note that most but not all properties affected by the bushfires are in a BMO area – to check go to the VicPlan maps website and type in your address.
  • A combined maximum width of 4 metres of vegetation can be cleared on either side of an existing fence on a boundary between properties with different owners, provided the fence was constructed before 10 September 2009. This exemption does not apply if there is already 4 metres of cleared land on one side of the fence.

If you are not sure whether vegetation can be removed, please call Council’s Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624 before doing any works.

You can appoint an arborist yourself, or you can request to have a Council-appointed arborist assess any burnt trees that you believe are a danger to life or property, in that they stop you being able to do essential things such as access your house or driveway. 

A tree IS considered a danger to life or property and will be assessed by Council if:

  • the tree or its limbs are at risk of falling on a house, falling on a road or driveway, or falling on a shed or outbuilding that is close to a house.

The following trees will not be assessed by Council and are the responsibility of the property owner:

  • Trees along a fence line that does not run alongside a road or driveway.
  • Trees that are some distance from the house or other buildings (such as in a paddock).

To let Council know about trees that fit the assessment criteria, you can:

If the Council-appointed arborist confirms that a tree is a danger to life or property, a second Council-appointed arborist will be sent in to make the tree safe. Please note that this may not necessarily mean cutting the tree down – a tree might be made safe by removing branches.

If you are physically unable to remove the branches that have been cut by the arborist from your property yourself, you can request help by calling Council on 1300 787 624 or dropping into the recovery centre to speak to a Council staff member from Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm.