Roads Emergency Services | November 02, 2020

Labor urged to act on fire risks

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is pushing for out of control roadside vegetation to be addressed as we move towards summer and the impending bushfire season.

The Nationals raised concerns about the ongoing poor standard of roadside vegetation control during State Parliament last week, seeking a commitment from the Andrews Labor Government’s Roads Minister to commit to an intensive slashing and vegetation removal program in high-risk areas.

“Unkept and uncleared roadsides significantly add to fuel loads, which act as a wick during bushfires,” Ms Kealy said.

“Right throughout Lowan we see burgeoning out of control long grass and weed species growing on our roadsides.

“Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their land cleared and fire safe, so it is time the Andrews Labor Government acted on its own directive and properly maintained our roadsides.”

Ms Kealy said in addition to contributing to fuel loads during bushfire season, roadside vegetation was impeding driver visibility in a number of areas, including where trees grew close to roads.

“The past two summers have seen areas of Victoria significantly impacted by bushfires, and the Andrews Labor Government should have learned lessons around the importance of fuel reduction,” she said.

“It is critical that the government properly resources VicRoads to get on top of slashing and management of roadside vegetation to mitigate fire risk.

“The CFA estimates that roadside slashing decreases any potential flame height by half, and when maintained it is easier to extinguish fires quickly.

“Fuel reduction saves lives and I am regularly contacted by local residents demanding an increase in greater fuel reduction on road sides.

“The Andrews Labor Government must stop cutting corners and address roadside vegetation and the safety issues it is creating.”

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