Council Rewards Evidence Given on Tree Vandalism

20 February 2013

Residents rewarded for tree vandalism evidence

Five residents who gave evidence that assisted Bayside City Council in the successful prosecution of a tree vandalism case will share a reward of $6,640. 

The Moorabbin Magistrates Court imposed a fine and legal and restitution costs totalling $20,817 for the act of vandalism that occurred on 26 December 2010 in Martin Street, Brighton.

Mayor Stephen Hartney congratulated everyone associated with securing Bayside City Council’s first native street tree vandalism prosecution under the 1987 State Government Planning and Environment Act.

“This is an excellent outcome for the whole Bayside community. Bayside is very proud of its amenity and its tree lined streets, and this is a clear case of the community working with Council to protect those very trees.

“It was the five local residents who first alerted Council to the vandalism and for that we remain grateful and happy to meet our commitment of making the reward funds available,” he said.

Mayor Hartney reiterated Council’s commitment to ensuring the protection and retention of its trees in open spaces, to improve the visual and environmental quality of streetscapes, open space and the foreshore areas within the municipality.

Three members of the same family who each provided witness statements and photos of the vandalism taking place have applied for the reward. The remaining two witnesses are eligible for the same reward if they apply to Council.

Under Council’s Tree Vandalism and Reward Policy, each case is assessed based on six criteria to determine the appropriate reward with the greatest influence given to any fine imposed by the Courts.

In this case the total maximum possible fine for the two offences was $146,000 and the Moorabbin Magistrates Court awarded $8,000. The assessment also considers tree value, location, amenity and extent of damage.

The Tree Vandalism and Reward Policy 2011 is designed to ensure that Council’s approach to rewards for information about tree vandalism is managed in a consistent, transparent and fair manner by using set criteria.

Following its reward allocation decision, Council agreed to amend its policy to include the calculation table used for this case. This change will be available for comment on Council’s website until 17 March 2013.

Bayside residents who wish to report a case of tree vandalism should ring Council at any time of night or day on 9599 4444.

Page last updated: 20 Feb 2013