Emergency Services | November 14, 2023

Risky start to bushfire season

Overgrown vegetation on roadsides and public land must be addressed as a matter of urgency as the bushfire season approaches.

Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said Labor’s fuel reduction program had become a monumental failure, with regional Victoria being left to face a long, hot, dry summer with significant vegetation growth and fuel loads on roadsides and public lands right across the state.

Ms Kealy said her office continued to receive complaints from residents calling for extensive slashing of roadsides and public areas prior to summer.

“Many of our country towns and farming districts are bordered by massive areas of public land which are poorly managed by the Labor Government.

“There is extensive vegetation growth on roadsides right across the region with out-of-control and highly flammable long grass, dead wood and weed species.

‘It is well known that unkept roadsides act as a wick during bushfire events, with experts confirming that community safety is significantly improved when roadside fuel loads are reduced through slashing, burning, and weed management.

“Local Councils simply don’t have the money to keep the sides of the roads continually slashed.

“Fuel load reduction on our roadsides must be prioritised and the Labor Government must immediately commit to an intensive slashing and vegetation removal program across regional Victoria given the forecast weather pattern for this summer.

“The overriding priority of the state government must be the protection of human life and many regional Victorians are justifiably concerned about Labor’s woeful preparation.

“Fuel reduction saves lives, and we need to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of catastrophic fires impacting our local communities,” she said.

Ms Kealy is urging all residents to have a fire plan prepared and in place and be ready for what is predicted to be an early start to the fire season.

Communities should keep up to date with local Fire Danger Ratings through the VicEmergency app and website, and by listening to their local media.

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