Ageing trees need urgent safety audit

Leading public safety advocates Maurice Blackburn Lawyers have called for an urgent safety audit of ageing trees across Melbourne following a tragic death caused a by falling tree this week.

Reports suggest many trees across inner Melbourne may pose safety threats as they near the end of their lives.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Alison Barrett called for an urgent safety audit of all trees on public land to avoid future tragedies.

“Questions need to be asked about whether any of the trees in question, or parts of the trees, should be removed completely, noting many of these ageing trees are located in areas that are heavily used by people exercising or as a thoroughfare,” Ms Barrett said.

“This may be appropriate in light of the fact that it has been identified a number of these trees are dying and are unlikely to remain where they are located longer term.

“People’s safety must be a priority in any of these considerations and in ensuring that all trees are carefully and regularly monitored for safety risks.

“While such monitoring does occur to varying extents, this week’s events make clear that monitoring must be conducted regularly, with proper consideration of relevant or changing factors that may impact on safety including a tree’s age, likely weather events and any nearby construction or road works.

“This is particularly important for trees located close to footpaths and other public spaces where people may be at risk,” she said.

Are you worried about tree falls in your area? Does your local council do enough to maintain the trees where you live?



I am disgusted that two women died this week due to trees falling on them in Victoria. Last year I had some fears, contacted the local council. The burghers were not forthcoming, so I got my lawyer friend to send a letter to them, advising they will be sued if anything happened. They sent a tree doctor to check th tree and he said the tree was unsafe. It is now firewood for someone.  I encourage anyone to do the same. 

Several years ago I asked our Council to take down a tree in the park next to us that had been dead for a number of years. Their response was to send out a tree surgeon who said the tree was safe. We also had a tree on our property that had been dead for sometime and the Council refused to let it be taken out. I know there is a covenant regarding the removal of trees in our area, however dead trees that pose a possible problem should be taken down.

Early last Sunday morning in the high winds, the tree in the park came crashing down taking our power line with it. Fortunately for us the 60 foot high tree (several tonnes) fell across the roadway and our neighbour's footpath. No-one was on the road thank goodness, and I taped off the road at both ends and also the park access. Thank goodness for red and white tape. The SES, Fire Brigade and Police all responded to our call for help within minutes and set up more secure boundaries as the live power line was across the road and footpath.

The upshot is that to have our power line line reinstated cost us over $1,500 including a re-connection fee! (pity those who are not lucky enough to be able to pay upfront), no power for most of the day (and Sunday was bitterly cold in Melbourne.

Our Insurance cCompany said they will most probably accept the claim and sue the Council (as the tree was on their property), however we will have to pay an excess before they chase the Council. I suppose we will eventually receive settlement, but guess who will be changing Insurance Companies next year.

I think we were lucky that it was so early on a Sunday morning and also raining so that no-one was hurt. Also in our very leafy neighbourhood many residents walk their pets early in the mornings. It does bring into question whether Council's should take more notice of a residents concerns regarding tree's and other potential issues.

Perhaps now the Council may re-consider our request to remove the dead tree on our property (about 50 foot high), that I believe to be a danger to us and the public.

The same trouble is in people’s gardens.  Blocks are getting smaller but daft people still stick a soaring line of trees along the fence which, if any of them came down in bad weather, would demolish half their neighbour’s house.

What is it with trees? They are a source of building material or firewood and if cut down can be replaced by other species more compatible with the area. A number of trees that cause problems are not even Australian natives but have been imported. Our native gums are quite dangerous as they will shed large branches in times of drought without warning or inspection by experts. Are we being ruled by people who put flora before humans? 

It's more about people building in inappropriate places than the fault of any tree. We actually need trees for our survival and to protect the climate because they absorb and trap carbon!

Trees are wonderful things - yes they die and fall once rotten. But they are the lungs of the world.

Trees take in the carbon dioxide. All breathing beings breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioixide.

Trees take in that carbon dioixide and breath out oxygen. 

We dont need to stop burning coal for power as the carbon dioixide is then like our breath taken in by live trees etc. Trees still have some left not breathed out as oxygen etc. But not a lot - and nothing that cant be fixed with more trees. 

What we need to do is to grow more trees and stop cutting them down as the third world has been doing far too much land clearing etc like the Amazon a huge area cleared. 

I'd dearly like for people to wake up to the terrible lies that are being told to young children as truth in text books paid for out of our income taxes. Told will die in 12 years due to CO2.

Now I maybe wrong but isnt the CO2 scare of old when we had to change the gas used in fridges and cars as it was making a hole in th Ozone Layer but that stopped and it healed once the gas wasnt coming out of these items. 

Trees can be a major issue with an almost reverential attitude irrespective of obvious danger. I personally love trees and really delight in seeing a bit beautiful gum in all its glory but a tree like that in suburbia is too big with a real possibility of becoming dangerous.

Trees can be a major issue with an almost reverential attitude irrespective of obvious danger. I personally love trees and really delight in seeing a bit beautiful gum in all its glory but a tree like that in suburbia is too big with a real possibility of becoming dangerous.

I'd like to know whether Saud inspection was done with 'Greenies' eyes or 'public safety' eyes

It is interesting your comment inflames this situation. 

If my memory serves me correct wasn't one of the trees that unfortunately killed a woman only inspected the week prior?

Does this cast doubt on the whole inspection process and value?


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