Neglected roadside vegetation a risk to regional communities

Out of control roadside vegetation must be addressed as summer and the impending bushfire season approaches.

Shadow Assistant Minster for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has placed a Motion for debate in State Parliament’s Legislative Council to address Labor’s ongoing neglect of roadside vegetation.

Ms Bath said The Nationals are calling on the Labor Government to commit to an intensive slashing and vegetation removal program across regional Victoria.

“High rainfall during three years of La Nina conditions has intensified roadside vegetation growth in regional Victoria, including those managed by VicRoads and local councils.

“The overriding priority of any state government when it comes to bushfire mitigation must be the protection of human life, yet Labor continues to prioritise ideological environmentalism.

“Right throughout eastern Victoria roadsides are burgeoning with out of control long grass, dead wood and weed species.

“Given the forecast weather pattern for summer – fuel load reduction on our roadsides must be prioritised.”

Ms Bath said unkempt roadsides act as a wick during bushfire events and deny residents a safe passage during bushfire events.

“Bushfire experts indicate that community safety is significantly improved when roadside fuel loads are reduced through slashing, burning, and weed management.

“Private property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their land cleared and fire safe, it’s high time for Labor to act on its own directive and maintain road sides to keep regional communities safe.

“Gippsland has already experienced an early start to bushfire season, and many regional Victorians are justifiably concerned about Labor’s woeful preparation.

“VicRoads and our Councils needs comprehensive resources and deadlines to get on top of management of roadside vegetation to mitigate fire risk across regional Victoria.

“Fuel reduction saves lives, and The Nationals are demanding Labor instigate a greater focus on it to maintain road sides and public land.”