AAPA no obstacle to emergency action on trees since 2013 


p2417 Trees Smith Street 660

Above: An accident waiting to happen in Smith Street? Action does not depend on AAPA. 

The Town Council has had a clearance certificate from the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority that allows emergency work on “trees of significance” to be taken immediately since 2013.
The certificate is open-ended, says Acting Director of Technical Services, Scott Allen, in other words council does not have to keep applying for clearance.
Mr Allen has stressed that the public need have no safety concern regarding AAPA protocols.
Concerns regarding council’s own processes are another matter. Alice Springs News Online reported earlier this week on council’s failure to take action on trimming the sacred tree at the intersection of Parson Street and Todd Street North. Three heavy beaches have fallen from the tree in two incidents this year, despite arborist Geoff Miers having told council they needed to be pruned back in March 2015.
Mr Miers’s advice somehow got lost in the system and was never actioned.
p2417 Trees Smith St 2 450Readers responding to that story have raised concerns about trees on Smith Street, as “an accident waiting to happen” (see comments @Jeremy Spoehr and @Heather Krikke). The Alice News is unaware of whether these are trees of significance (in other words protected by Sacred Sites legislation) but in terms of action in the interest of public safety that need not make any difference.
Mr Allen told the News that a “review” of these trees is “underway”. Because they are under power lines the Power and Water Corporation will need to be involved, he said.
The News asked whether an appointment with PWC had already been made? Mr Allen could not say.
The AAPA annual report for 2014-15 provided information about the progress made with the Town Council on tree maintenance:
“Authority Certificates issued last year for both routine tree trimming and emergency tree trimming within the Alice Springs town boundary on land managed by the Council, has in 2014–15 provided the Alice Springs Town Council with certainty with regard to tree management.
“An ongoing communication protocol exists in relation to tree trimming.
“These whole of municipality Authority Certificates have reduced the Alice Springs Town Council’s need to apply for multiple certificates to work on specific trees or streets in the town, providing for far more effective future town planning and ongoing maintenance of trees.
“This has also helped the Council save time and money in relation to tree trimming works.”
In the authority’s annual report for 2015-16 it describes showcasing at an NT Government conference on municipal services its “good working relationship with the Alice Springs Town Council.”


  1. So Steve Brown is off the mark again – and trying to blame this on Territory institutions that are there for the betterment of ALL Territorians.
    Just as trees can be dangerous, it is a fact of life that in the NT that trees have cultural significance.
    How about an apology?

  2. Under the trees Mr Allen? How long does a review take ? I’ve parked near these trees, I’d hate to see a car driving along just after one of them falls onto the road and hits it head on! Not a good look.

  3. This is good news as regards the procedure for dealing with AAPA, but it does put the ASTC under a bit of a hammer.
    I drive along Smith St. every week or so and have never noticed the trees in the photo. Now that I have, I might take a different route.
    And how about the trees along Bloomfield? Not so dangerous looking, but ugly as.
    Are Red Gums a good fit for street trees? If not, maybe a major replanting needs to be considered.

  4. Trucks regularly have the tops of pantechs scrape the trees, you can see the multiple of rub marks on them, one day it won’t be a scrape it will be a full hit….

  5. ASTC has been planting trees under power lines for decades – and that is decades of stupidly endangering our safety.
    Drive along Bloomfield Street, or any other street in the Gillen area, and you will see hundreds of wretched, butchered trees under power lines that should never have been planted there in the first place.
    You can find them along every street in town where there are above ground power lines.
    Power and Water Authority cuts back these poor trees to protect us from power outages or electrocution when trees come into contact with high voltage lines.
    The costs of PAWA tree trimming are either passed on to us in our power bills or paid by our taxes; not free. The only reason PAWA has to do this is because of the stupid placement of trees along our streets under the power lines.
    Alice Springs Town Council, hello? It’s time to get smart! Let’s recycle all these poor old trees, and plant new ones where they can grow to their full potential without the need to butcher them in future for public safety.

  6. @ RayB: I have seen many places across Australia where they don’t cut the trees back so severely. There is about a one metre space and it looks nice.
    Why the complete hatchet job in Alice Springs?
    Do we have some kind of stricter distance rules or something? Or is it the contractors?
    Going forward, let’s keep what we can and plant from a list of recognised native species that are fit for purpose. Sometimes even a non native or two is OK.
    Oh yea, and let’s all acknowledge that we live with some risk every day.
    Other councils can deal with it and not turn it into a political football.
    Why not Alice Springs?

  7. Why would Power and Water need to be involved? It is obvious from the photo, the part of the tree that needs pruning is more than a safe distance from the power lines.

  8. @ Obvious: Well, that seems to be a big part of the problem, it’s obvious to anyone with a functioning brain and more importantly COMMON SENSE.
    It appears now days common sense is taboo or frowned on. Have a few more meetings to see who it can be palmed off to. Seriously, I do wonder.


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