Push to imprison those who hurt trees for profit

TREE vandals and anyone who commissions such “outrageous crimes” could be jailed, if Councillor Clare Raffan gets her way.

Canterbury Bankstown Council will write to Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, calling for the tougher penalties, including hefty fines, to deter “wanton vandalism”.
“The blatant vandalism of trees is a calculated and deliberate act by greedy people who will generally have some financial gain,” she said.
“Increased fines and jail time will go some way in deterring these criminals.”
She said the vandalism of trees was becoming all too familiar, with councils across the State crying out for tougher penalties.
The attacks include 100 trees on public land at Longueville being chopped down late last year, nine Port Jackson fig trees were drilled and poisoned last month and just a few weeks ago, the council was forced to heavily prune six beautiful trees at East Hills Park, along the Georges River, which had been poisoned.
Those trees survived a poisoning attack in 2019 but after a second attack last month, have been heavily cut back for safety reasons, leaving locals seething.
Although councils can issue on-the-spot maximum fine of $3,000 for individuals or $6,000 for businesses, there were 85 reports of wilful damage to protected trees in the 2022-23 financial year.