Service doesn’t cut it

By Jessica Micallef

“Inferior” and “poor” is how the Macedon Ranges council describes the standard and practice of tree pruning across the municipality.

Trees in the region are pruned by electricity company Powercor Australia and the council is not satisfied with the service provided.

The council’s assets and operations director Shane Walden said oak and English elm trees in Gisborne, New Gisborne, Lancefield and Romsey have been left susceptible to disease because of poor pruning.  He said poor practices have become apparent across areas of the municipality since electrical line clearance works started in late 2019 and have continued into this year.

“Poor pruning practices were apparent by observing the removal of an unacceptable amount of canopy, the trees being left with poor structure and the cutting technique which have left trees susceptible to disease and infection,” he said.

“All council trees are considered assets and are maintained with reference to [the] council’s tree management policy as well as [the] Australian Standard 4373 – Pruning of Amenity Trees.

“The cutting undertaken by Powercor does not meet the requirements.”

The council decided at its February meeting to write to Powercor Australia, expressing their concern of “poor” pruning practices. “We are looking for the opportunity to work with them [Powercor] to protect our tree assets across the municipality,” Mr Walden said.

A Powercor Australia spokesperson said the company had been working towards an “improved” approach to managing particular trees in the Macedon Ranges.

“We inspect and clear trees away from our assets all year round to allow us to continue delivering safe and reliable power to our customers,” the spokesperson said.

“We … understand their [the council’s] concerns about the tree cutting.

“Whilst we make best efforts to accommodate individual cutting requirements, management of bushfire and compliance risk remains the key objective of the program.”