My Scullin

Save Our Habitat Trees

UPDATE – 12 February 2024

The formal Government reply to our petition was tabled in the ACT parliament last Thursday. You can read the letter from the Planning Minister, Chris Steel here.

It is good to see that some small improvements have been made in decision-making processes and training.

There are a couple of actions relating to threatened species and their habitat. These are good, yet the focus on threatened species misses the point that hollows are important for ALL native species, not only threatened ones. We want to keep our common native species common!

I hope that the new changes to tree protection and biodiversity sensitive urban design referred to in the letter achieve the better habitat protection we are seeking. Let’s keep a watch on that.

As it’s an election year, I will continue raising concern about unnecessary loss of habitat trees. You may like to do the same.

But to wrap up this process, in summary, we saved our trees AND we made some positive changes to the broader planning approval processes. That makes it worth it!

Thanks for your support!

Adele Sinclair, Scullin Community Group, Green Spaces Coordinator

UPDATE – 3 November 2023
The petition was presented to the Legislative Assembly by Jo Clay MLA on Thursday 2 November. The petition had over 600 signatures!

We are now awaiting a formal Government reply from Minister Vassarotti. This is expected in the new year.

Thank you for your support in saving Scullin’s habitat trees and starting a conversation about protecting habitat trees elsewhere across Canberra.

UPDATE – Saturday 21/10/23
The petition will close on 30 October and be presented to the ACT Legislative Assembly on 2 November by Jo Clay MLA.

If you haven’t already signed, please do so now. The more signatures, the stronger our message.

If you have been collecting signatures on the paper versions of the petition, please drop these off ASAP to Bold Hair in the Scullin Shops courtyard, ready for collection.

Thanks for your support! Adele Sinclair

UPDATE – Thursday 22/09/23

GOOD NEWS! We have received notice that our three habitat trees will be retained and that the original decision was an ‘error’. This is very welcome news. We are grateful to the ACT Government for reviewing and amending the approval to remove these hollow-bearing trees.
View the new Notice of Decision here

BUT WE’RE NOT DONE YET – I have replied querying what will be done differently as a result of this situation and have not yet received a reply. So there is currently no process change regarding the ease of approvals to remove native trees with hollows.

So we keep going… Please continue collecting signatures for our petition. More signatures = taken more seriously.

Thanks for your support! Adele Sinclair

Save Scullin’s habitat trees and protect other trees with hollows across the ACT for the future

The Scullin Community Group and local residents are working to urgently stop the ACT government removing a number of native habitat trees on a development site slated for Frewin Place, Scullin. 

The purpose of this campaign is not to oppose the development of community housing on this site.

We oppose the approvals to clear mature native eucalypt habitat trees, full of hollows recently used for nesting by native birds including eastern rosellas and gang gang cockatoos.

We call upon the ACT Government to do two things:

1. Withdraw the approval to remove the three Scullin habitat trees, DONE!

2. Amend the development approval process so that native trees with active habitat hollows cannot be easily approved for removal and other hollows in Canberra are protected too. STILL TO BE DONE!



We’ve hit our target!! This means we have now passed the threshold for having our petition submitted to the ACT Assembly. Yay!

But we’re not done yet. More signatures mean that the petition is taken more seriously. We need to demonstrate to the Government and the media that the community feels strongly about protecting
our native trees for habitat.


How You Can Help


You’ll see the petition is formal and long. It needs to meet certain conditions to be presented to the ACT Assembly. 

Essentially, we are saying 2 things: 

#1. These habitat trees should not have been slated for removal as doing so contravenes the government’s own environmental plans. We want the decision to remove them to be reversed. 

#2. We also want the ACT government to amend its processes so other tress with hollows in Canberra are not approved for removal in the same way. 

Please take the time to read the petition so you are comfortable signing it, and thank you for your support of the tree hollows and the wildlife they support.

You can sign either the e-petition or the paper petition. Please only sign ONCE. You must be must a resident or citizen of the ACT.


It’s easy! Simply copy and share this link with your friends and neighbours who care about our environment and wildlife.

3. COLLECT SIGNATURES (Paper version)

If you’re willing to collect signatures from your friends and neighbours, that’d be super helpful! Paper versions of the petition are now available to collect from the noticeboard in the shops courtyard.

Please drop off completed petitions to Bold Hair, the hairdresser in the Scullin shops courtyard. (Thanks for your support, Claire!)

And if you want to print off the paper petition yourself, here’s the file.


We want to see posters all around Scullin so everyone knows about this – and so we can show the world we care about our native trees and birds! Simply download the poster pdf, print it off, and tape it up in a place in Scullin where people will see it. You can also pick up A4 copies from the noticeboard in the Scullin shops courtyard.

The QR code links to this webpage, which is where all information and updates will be as things unfold.


Tell them about the situation and ask them to join the campaign. Share the e-petition link, get a signature on a paper petition, ask them to help us protect our habitat trees and the wildlife that depend on them.

The Background

On Friday 24 August we learned that the development application for the new community housing development coming for the spot behind the Cerebral Palsy building on the corner of Frewin Place and Ross Smith Crescent has been approved. The decision notice is here.

We are not opposing the development itself. Our problem is that the ACT Government has approved the removal of mature native trees with hollows.

And the problem with that is those trees with hollows have been seen to be used for nesting by native birds including eastern rosellas and gang gang cockatoos. They’re like multi-storey apartment blocks for native birds and insects.

The arborist report for the development application assesses those trees as of “low value”.

This report seems to have been taken at face value by the Conservator, who has waived it through, quoted in the letter using the same wording as the arborist report.

Yet ACT Environment says the loss of tree hollows is a key threatening process for urban wildlife and mature native trees should be retained wherever possible. Their website goes into detail on this. This document outlines the issues.

And multiple members of the community provided submissions to the development application consultation process telling the Government that these trees have active hollows in them.

We want save these trees for the native birds that are using them for habitat. The trees aren’t pretty to look at but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful. Fewer mature native trees = fewer hollows = fewer nesting sites = fewer native birds and wildlife.

It’s not that hard to achieve both the new community homes AND keep the native wildlife homes at the same time.

Let’s show the ACT Government that our community cares about these trees and wants them saved – and we want the process that allowed them to be approved for removal to be fixed!

View the key documents

Notice of Decision

Tree Report

Why tree hollows are important

More details

Adele Sinclair
Green Spaces Coordinator, Scullin Community Group
0408 420 098 AT

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