An arborist is a person who specialises in the care, assessment and maintenance of trees. This is a highly skilled profession supported by extensive training and experience.

If maintenance or any other works to a protected tree is not carried out by a suitably qualified professional it could lead to damage to property, injury to person or irreversible damage to a protected tree.

Arborist's report

An arborist's report can assist Council with assessing your application to remove dangerous or hazardous vegetation protected by the NALL. Council may also request that you provide an arborist’s report as part of further information required for the assessment of your application to carry out work on protected vegetation. Supplying an arborist's report with your applications does not guarantee you will receive approval to remove or undertake works to protected vegetation. 


Brisbane City Council recommends choosing a qualified and experienced arborist to prepare the report.

An arborist preparing a report should be:

  • a qualified consultant arborist
  • competent and qualified to Australian Government AHC50510 Diploma of Arboriculture and
  • experienced in arboricultural principles and practices, including tree risk hazard assessment and reporting.

Council also recommends that the arborist has public liability insurance to $20 million, and professional indemnity of $2 million. The arborist must be able to provide a current certificate/s of insurance if requested by Council.

It is recommended that the arborist also shows commitment to continued professional development through membership of a professional organisation such as:

An arborist carrying out work on protected vegetation should demonstrate the above qualities as well as:

  • be a qualified working consultant arborist
  • be competent and qualified to the AQF Level 3 in arboriculture

Minimum requirements of the report

The arborist's report must focus on the key issues of the vegetation or tree in question. Council will use this information to help make an informed and accurate assessment of the vegetation. 

Recommendations for inclusions in an arborist's tree risk assessment report:

  • name, company name, address, telephone number, qualifications and experience of the arborist carrying out the inspection and reporting
  • address of the site containing the tree or vegetation and the date of the inspection
  • methods or techniques used in the inspection, for instance, resistograph and Visual Tree Assessment (VTA). No invasive techniques such as climbing spikes are to be used during an inspection
  • the species (scientific and common name), dimensions (height, crown spread, trunk diameter at 1.4 metres above ground), location within the site, observations/data on the condition, health and structural integrity of the vegetation in question
  • a recommendation and explanation about the proposed work. Discussion of all the options available, including why they are or not recommended (for example, whether changes to the building design or construction methods would suit the retention of the tree, the suggested location of a tree protection zone during building work or whether the tree could be remedially pruned for hazard management)
  • supporting evidence such as annotated photographs, test results and statements where appropriate
  • sources of information referred to, or relied on, in the report.

Tree risk assessment report

A tree risk assessment report may also be required by Council as part of the arborist report in instances where the application proposes to:

  • remove the tree completely
  • remove the tree due to its health or vigour
  • carry out significant and/or major works on the tree or vegetation which could see its structure altered

The tree risk assessment report must be based on data collected, including relevant tree faults, damage and defects, pests, diseases, identifying potential for failure and a risk rating that considers failure potential and consequence for example the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) and/or Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ).

Qualified arborists can be found in the Yellow Pages and online under arborist, arboriculturists, tree surgery and arboriculture. The Queensland Arboriculture Association also provides a list of arborists.

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