The total penalty for removing the trees amounted to the relatively paltry sum of $13000.
The property developer took the matter seriously and was reportedly very embarassed. He denied knowing the trees were deemed significant, and was unaware he needed a permit to remove the trees.
Clearly the property developer didn't value the trees, didn't notice their beauty, age or cultural significance, even when they were in front of his eyes. He couldn't have known anything about the world of nature. He seemed unaware that mature trees create an ecosystem for insects, birds and fungi, and that when he removed the trees he was destroying an entire ecosystem that took a very long time to grow and evolve.
Yet as a property developer, this man, oblivious to the natural world, presumably regularly makes decisions about land clearing and building construction for people and communities!
The other day, while thinking about this news item, I went to Bunnings to buy wood chips for mulch. Naturally I chose a recycled product. Bunnings advertises that they sell things cheaper than anyone else. I like to save money, but when things are very cheap I worry about who got ripped off in the supply chain. In this case I was shocked at the checkout to be told: this bag of wood chips is $4!