The maximum penalty under current local laws is just $500, a figure the Council determined was not a significant enough deterrent.
Last night Council approved a review of two City of Perth local laws - Local Government Property Local Law 2005 and Thoroughfares and Public Places Local Law 2017 – with the aim of increasing the penalty for tree vandalism.
The average cost of removing a damaged tree, replacing it, and then maintaining it for the first few years while it becomes established is more than $6,900. That is on top of less tangible costs such as loss of public amenity and tree canopy – which means reduced urban cooling and carbon sequestration.
City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said the $500 penalty has not proved to be a deterrent and amended local laws would send a clear message to the mindless minority that tree vandalism is unacceptable and tougher penalties will apply to that kind of behaviour.
“Tree vandalism currently costs the City between $60,000 and $100,000 a year with the average cost of removing and replacing a damaged tree about $6,900,” he said.
“It is a serious problem, which is impacting the City’s ability to grow tree canopy and combat the heat island effect.
“Even if trees aren’t totally destroyed, the act of vandalism can impact a tree’s growth and restrict it from reaching its full potential.
“I think a penalty of up to $5,000 is more appropriate, it reflects the amount it costs us to remove and replace a damaged tree, and hopefully it will deter those who think it is a good idea to vandalise trees.”
Last year, 50 trees were removed from the CBD, with 45 of those due to vandalism. Since January, a further 23 trees have been removed due to vandalism.
Tree vandalism typically occurs in City areas with an active night-time economy or along popular pedestrian routes linking hospitality venues and public transport.
“While we have more than 700 CCTV cameras deployed in the City, I would like to encourage anyone who witnesses to report any acts of tree vandalism,” Lord Mayor Zempilas said.
If you see someone vandalising trees in the City of Perth, you can call 9461 3333.


Issued by: Graham Mason, 0448 363 780,