Melbourne councils fell trees to make room for Australia Post’s new electric vehicles


Australia Post threatened to stop delivering mail to the resident if the overhanging branches and bushes were not removed.

“We hope that you will have until December 30, 2022 to dispose of this matter,” the letter said. “Failure to do so may result in your mail being held for collection.”

On the same Coburg street, residents said Merri-bek council had cut down “the best tree on the street”, leaving only a stump.

Merri-bek city infrastructure director Anita Curnow would not comment on whether the tree was felled at Australia Post’s request, but said the council had received a complaint from the courier service.

“Council has recently received complaints about overgrown vegetation on some footpaths in Merri-bek,” she said. “Vegetation on private properties must be reduced to the property line and not exceed three meters in height to ensure easy and safe passage for pedestrians, including delivery services, prams and other pedestrians.”

Coburg resident Jules Thomson-Martin said Australia Post’s tricycles were more like tuk-tuks than bicycles and were not part of the footpath.

“It’s not right to come in and cut down a 30-year-old tree,” he said. “I’m a landscape architect and we’re doing everything we can to plant as much vegetation as we can on the streets for obvious reasons to combat climate change and provide amenities.”

Neighboring Darebin Council has received a “small number” of vegetation trimming requests from Australia Post over the past year.


A spokesman said: “Given the low number of requests the council has received, our aim is to trim as much as possible and provide the necessary clearance for new delivery trikes without damaging vegetation.”

In Melbourne’s south-east, the city of Stonington said it had received more than usual requests from Australia Post over the past two years to clear vegetation to accommodate its new vehicles.

The committee was unable to provide exact figures, but estimated that there were between 30 and 50 requests per year.

The battle for Melbourne’s sidewalks is likely to intensify as Australians continue their online shopping habits, buying $62.3 billion worth of goods online in 2021, according to Australia Post.

Other courier companies are considering using electric tricycles, but only Australia Post is allowed to drive its vehicles on footpaths.

Uber Eats Australia general manager Lucas Groenveld said micromobility on a bike, scooter or trike was the future of “last mile delivery”.

“It’s the most sustainable and logical way to move light parcels around the city,” he said. “It’s cleaner, greener and more efficient. While micromobility can reduce emissions and create a more vibrant subway, it needs to go hand in hand with infrastructure improvements to the bike network.”

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