Council sends strong message to AusGrid about the brutal treatment of street trees

Marrickville Greens – media release

Council sends strong message to AusGrid about the brutal treatment of street trees
24 February 2014


Marrickville Greens Councillor Max Phillips is pleased that council unanimously supported his motion at the last council meeting to express its strong concern that changes to pruning practices were leaving street tree assets brutalised, ugly and unsustainable.
“Councillors have received a lot of complaints from residents about the unnecessarily severe pruning of street trees that have damaged the trees and made streetscapes ugly,” said Greens Councillor Phillips.
“It seems that AusGrid have implemented a new three metre clearance rule from any wire which is being over zealously implemented by their tree pruning contractors.
“I can see no real reason why Ausgrid would change to such a severe rule and brutal practices, except that it means they can prune less often and save money for their corporation.  The trees, streetscapes and residents of the inner west should not be sacrificed for penny pinching by AusGrid.
“Street trees are often valued at tens of thousands of dollars, are important community assets and can be much loved by local residents. This value needs to be respected by AusGrid.
“I’m pleased that Council has made a strong statement to AusGrid and I hope it prompts a change in practices.  I thank the mayor and other councillors for their support on this issue.”
Cr Max Phillips
0419 444 916


1.    Council expresses its grave concerns about the recent changes to street tree pruning practices being implemented by Ausgrid & considers the methods excessive & unreasonable.

2.    Ausgrid provide immediate clarification to Council of the authority vested in it by NSW Electricity Supply Act 1995 to prune for clearance data & communications cables as opposed to its own electrical wires.

3.    Ausgrid provide resources for the aerial bundling of overhead wires in locations where the impact of tree pruning on street & park trees is excessive & unacceptable.

4.    Council review its standard conditions of development for larger developments to aspire to provide for the undergrounding of overhead wires & data cables at no cost to Council.

5.    Council’s proposed Street Tree Master Plan identify the need for the selection of street tree species to take account of the site conditions, including the presence of overhead wires.

6.    Council consider, as part of future budgets, the need for ongoing allocation of new funds to provide for the regular pruning of street trees by Council’s own contractors.

7.    Council write to the NSW Minister of Resource & Energy, Anthony Roberts, MP, expressing its concerns about recent changes to Electricity Network Standards, adopted by Ausgrid, that require tree clearances of up to 3.0 metres to overhead wires.  Further that Council requests that urgent consideration be given to the amendment of these standards to provide for more reasonable clearances, no more than previously in force.

8.    Prunings be removed from streets on the same day they are cut.”


  • Councillor you have no idea. Ausgrid is controlled by Networks NSW which is run by the State Government. It isnt Ausgrids decision to implement the new rule it is Networks NSW. Ausgrid has no choice.

    The pruning that I have seen is exactly to the standard ISSC3, so they have done nothing wrong. Just because you dont like it, doesnt mean they are doing the wrong thing.

    Why isnt your council responsible for planting trees that grow to big. Plant smaller trees and they will never need pruning. Do you agree that you are partly responsible or are you buck passing as usual.

  • Can we get an update on your progress in stopping Ausgrid !

  • Does this mean nothing has been achieved and the pruning will continue. Must have been one mighty ‘strong message’.

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