The Beagle Editor, If, as Keith Dance suggests (Moruya Examiner, June 15), the relevant government agencies are happy with the Draft Rural Lands Strategy, why then does the Office of Environment and Heritage say, “Regretfully, I advise that there are key components of the strategy that OEH does not support” in its submission to the strategy? OEH goes on to express disappointment that given the extensive work of research and mapping and the verification of high environment value lands it is disappointing that the strategy has not used the data to propose zones that will protect those high conservation values. It certainly seems like an awful waste of tax-payers money to ignore such advice.
Likewise, the Rural Fire Service appears to have concerns about the strategy suggesting that it seeks an increase of subdivisions in areas that are ‘highly constrained’ and may be identified as isolated rural locations. This essentially means that these proposed subdivisions are in heavily forested and steep terrain making the fighting of a fire far more problematic. The RFS also says that in order to comply with Asset Protection Zones and to provide access roads there will need to be a significant amount of vegetation modification works where dwellings are proposed. This obviously adds up to more land clearing. And this in a state that has recently watered down environmental protections of native vegetation.
Keith Dance, a member of the Rural Lands Strategy Working Committee, also raises the revealing question of who are the lucky beneficiaries of the proposal as it stands.