We are a coalition of community groups and individuals united by a concern that the Victorian Government's recently announced 10/30 rule is not based on sound scientific evidence and will lead to unintended consequences.
We are an independent coalition of like minded people who love the bush and want to continue to live in it. Bushfire safety is a big part of our lives. But we also know that wanton removal of vegetation is not a panacea.
ONE of Australia's leading fire experts has warned that Victorians may be exposing their homes to greater risk and damaging the environment unnecessarily under the State Government's new land-clearing rules.
Last month, under the so-called ''10/30 right'', the Government announced that people could clear vegetation, including trees, within 10 metres of their houses. They were also allowed to clear scrub and ground fuel within 30 metres of their home.
But bushfire behavioural expert Kevin Tolhurst told The Sunday Age that people appeared to be clearing large numbers of trees without realising that many species could help protect a house during fire.
A stand of trees could shield a house from some radiation and also slow down wind, reducing the embers that reach a house. The key thing, Dr Tolhurst said, was to make sure the trees were not stringybarks, which produced a large amount of embers during fires.
We have received reports of people taking advantage of the 10/30 regulation, and some of these involve what might be kindly described as an overzealous application of its scope. In some cases, this could be from a lack of clarity around the regulation - and given the literature the government produced to explain its ruling, we are not surprised. However, there have been some who have been waiting for an excuse to improve their view, or to undertake works that are obviously not for bushfire preparedness. We want to hear about these cases.
So, if you become aware of a situation where the regulations have been abused, or have resulted in perverse outcomes, such as increased erosion or landslip risk, please let us know.
Since Brumby's 10/30 legislation came in, there has been strenuous debate amongst hills residents. This shows the depth of concern that many residents feel about the effect this legislation will have on our beautiful environment, climate chance, tourism and quality of life, all while not guaranteeing any of us will be safer from bushfire this coming season, or in future fire seasons.
I have been a firefighter for many years (CFA's in South Aust, Tasmania, RFS in NSW, Remote area firefighter for NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 1989-1998, author of bushfire training manual, "Pumps and Pumping" ;Crew Leader training NPWS.) The Australian bush is unique and essential, but we cannot expect to see sound planning in housing standards anytime soon in bushfire prone areas. The town of Marysville is one example. The Victorian Govt should offer to purchase all burnt or unburnt housing or business alotments at market price and turn Marysville into a "Historic Precinct" and give people the chance to build elsewhere and reduce the heartache of the burden of the "go or stay to defend" decision making from people who may not be in the position to make rational decisions in an emergency situation.
to: Shire of Yarra Ranges
attention: Mr Brett Ellis, Executive Officer for Emergency and Safety Planning
Dear Mr Ellis
Council Tree Felling Regulations
As you will be no doubt aware, the state government has legislated to permit residents to remove trees and vegetation within 10 and 30 metres from their homes.
Personally, I consider this legislation to be potentially environmentally destructive and does not provide for better fire safety due to the protection that trees provide from winds and ember attack and that this activity itself will create safety and fire hazards. However, it is likely that some residents will take up Premier Brumby's offer and remove trees and vegetation.