Environment Minister Tony McRae said the State Government would come down hard on people caught destroying native trees and other vegetation along the banks of the Swan and Canning Rivers.
Mr McRae this morning inspected several trees suspected to have been deliberately killed along Masson Mews in Minim Cove, Mosman Park. Trees also seem to have been poisoned along riverbanks in South Perth and Rossmoyne.
The tree trunks had been drilled and it appeared that poison had been injected into the holes.
“This is sheer environmental vandalism,” he said.
“It looks like these trees have been deliberately poisoned by someone who perhaps is upset because the trees restrict the views over the river. It is difficult to believe there is any other reason behind such acts.
“It is incredible that some residents believe they are justified in cutting branches back, poisoning trees so they have to be removed or chopping down trees to improve views.”
The Minister said the Government was in the process of creating the Swan-Canning River Park in recognition of the need to protect the river systems and to manage them for the enjoyment of all Western Australians.
“The vegetation along the banks is a critical part of the rivers’ ecosystems. It helps prevent erosion and provide habitat for wildlife. Poisoning the trees is the equivalent of bulldozing a person’s house,” he said.
Mr McRae said people caught destroying trees and vegetation along the Swan and Canning rivers could expect to face penalties of up to $5,000.
“However, what will hurt even more is that some councils have plans to erect public information signs on the landward side of damaged trees,” he said.
“I would urge all councils along the Swan and Canning rivers to consider such action. To be really effective, the signs should be as big as the trees that have been destroyed and remain in place until another tree has grown.”
The Minister said the public could help conserve the rivers and their shorelines by reporting harmful actions to the Swan River Trust on 9278 0900 or after hours on 0419 192 845.
Minister's office - 9213 7150