Monday, September 07, 2009

clearing concerns top the talk

The new vegetation controls were the talk of the town at this month's Kallista market (on Saturday). Many residents expressed their concern to me about the new '10/30 right' vegetation controls. Their greatest concern that the environment they value and love now has the potential be decimated under the new 10/30 rights.

The one size fits all is not a good approach to vegetation management. The Shire of Yarra Ranges has enjoyed strong vegetation controls with protections enshrined in the Planning and Environment Act. That is up until last week when the Brumby government decided to amend the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Regional Strategy Plan which saw an end to our vegetation controls which the community has fought long and hard for.

Cleaning up fine fire fuels is the best way to make your property safer and that includes regular gutter cleaning and sometimes roof sweeping too.

Now we find that our iconic landscapes are under threat from ill informed laws that will not protect our communities from the threat of bushfire.

This measure will not make all houses safer. The science is clear, trees around your house reduce both wind speed and ember attack - two of the most important factors in house survivability, and this is reiterated on the CFA website in information around fire preparedness. This was further reiterated in testimony by one of the CSIRO's bushfire experts, Justin Leonard to the Royal Commission hearings.

We are fortunate to live in a unique environment, some areas are of state significance, Yarra Ranges requires a far more sophisticated approach to vegetation management if we are protect our scenic values and biodiversity. Imagine if landowners actually applied the 10/30 rights, we would see wholesale change in our environment whilst exacerbating the risk of landslip and erosion.

A new group, Living with the bush, has been launched in response to the 10/30 rights. Living with the Bush says “Improving community safety in the face of increasing risk from bushfires is not a choice between human welfare and environmental integrity. This is a false choice and if pursued will result in giving people a false sense of security while ignoring other more important safety measures."

If you are one of the many residents concerned about the new 10/30 rights, and I know a lot of you are from the amount of conversations I have already had about this issue, I recommend you visit to the Living with the Bush

I'm told that their membership is nearing 200 already, this is clearly an issue of grave concern to the community.

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