The Gold Coast Council has a Vegetation Management Code which is a set of laws that regulates the pruning and removal of trees on private property.

These regulations outline which trees you will need a permit for before pruning or removal and which are exempt from needing a permit.

A summary of those rules and conditions is outlined below.

Note: The below rules are for residential property and do not apply to units/ apartment complexes.

Most trees will need a council permit before trimming or removal. Check the exemptions below. If your tree is not an exempt species or withing a bushfire zone, within a certain distance to your home or on the fence line you will need approval. This includes dead trees.

What trees can be removed without a permit?

You can remove trees on the Gold Coast without council approval for the following reasons:

  1. If a vacant lot has had a development application previously approved by Council and the trees are on the pad where the proposed house is to be built.
  2. Removal or pruning of vegetation along an existing property boundary fence line or proposed fence line (… if the new fence is constructed within 21 days of tree removal).
    – Lots < 4000m2 may remove trees within 1.5 metres of the boundary line
    – Lots between 4000m2 to 7999m2 Within 3 metres of the boundary line
    – Lots 8000m2 and greater Within 6 metres of the boundary line
  3. Removal or pruning of vegetation that is close to a building
    – Lots < 8,000 m2 Within 3 metres of the building
    – Lots > 8,000 m2 Within 10 metres of the building
  4. Removal or pruning of vegetation that is close to my pool fence
    – Within 1.5 metres of the pool fence
  5. Removal/damage of vegetation within 10 metres of a dwelling that is located within a Bushfire Hazard Map Overlay and/or vegetation that forms part of an approved Bushfire Management Plan
Palm removal gold coast

Does Gold Coast Council have exempt trees?

Yes, see the table below. These trees can be removed without a permit and void all the above rules.

They are seen as a pest locally, so you will have no issue removing them.

Note: Not all palm trees are exempt. If you don’t have a Cocos Palm, you will need to apply for a permit for removal.

Common name

Cocos Palm

Coral Tree


Slash Pine

Umbrella Tree

Botanical name

Syagrus romanzofffiana

Erythrina x sykesii

Corymbia torelliana

Pinus elliotii

Schefflera actinophylla

brw logo web100
BHG logo bk Copy16
yahoo web140
cdbms logo web175

Gold Coast City Vegetation Management Plan

The above is a summary of your local council’s Vegetation Management Code. Please follow the link for the full document.

Tree removal application for Gold Coast Council

To apply for a tree removal permit if your tree falls outside the above exemptions, you will need to fill out this online form, and pay the lodgement fee of $160.

You can also download the form and lodge it personally at your local council chambers.

Download: Site works plan to be lodged with your application

How long does approval take?

It depends on how busy they are with applications, but it should not take any longer than 2 – 3 weeks to have an answer after application.

If they are unsure of whether to give you approval based on your reasoning, they may get you to procure an arborist report as a supporting document.

This would happen if you claim the tree is dangerous or has white ants etc.

Gold Coast City Council contact & lodgement details

Phone: 07 5582 8211
Mailing Address: PO Box 5042 GOLD COAST MC 9729

Author: Ben McInerney is a qualified arborist with over 15 years of industry experience. He uses his in-depth knowledge of the tree service industry to give readers to most accurate information on tree service costs and helps to educate them about the benefits of using a certified arborist for tree trimming and removal work.