New laws to cut out tree wars

CHANGES to legislation on fences and overhanging branches have been introduced across the state, replacing neighbourhood dispute laws which dated back to the early 1950s.

Goodna Councillor Paul Tully said the new Neighbourhood Disputes Resolution Act was a positive change which had come in the wake of about two years of consultation with local councils.

The new laws aim to clearly spell out neighbouring property owners' obligations in relation to fences and trees and Cr Tully said they also encouraged people to talk through their problems instead of going to court.

"Until now we've had the old act and that was a very generalised act which didn't specify people's rights," Cr Tully said.

"This will spell it out pretty clearly."

Attorney General Paul Lucas said this was the first time the legislation had covered trees.

"Whilst most people might find it easy to trim overhanging branches, for many people, including the elderly or people with disabilities, this is impossible," Mr Lucas said.

"From today, if someone believes a tree poses a danger or it's adversely affecting their land they can write to the owner, requesting for it to be trimmed or removed.

"They can also recover up to $300 for professional services to trim a tree under 2.5 metres if parties can't agree on a resolution."

While matters that cannot be resolved can be referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Mr Lucas said he hoped neighbours would seek to settle any dispute through good communication.

"First and foremost, we want to see neighbours communicating with each other about these matters and trying to reach a resolution," he said.



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