Independent NSW MLC Justin Field has called on South Coast MPs and Government Ministers Andrew Constance, Shelley Hancock and Gareth Ward and to oppose a proposal being debated in NSW Cabinet today that would allow up to 25 metres of tree clearing around property boundaries, threatening thousands of hectares of public and privately forested land across the South Coast.
The call follows media reports (The Australian, 6 Oct 202, p2: Permitted fire-prone clearing doubled) that the Coalition will consider a proposal in Cabinet to double the amount of native vegetation that can be bulldozed around fire-prone homes from 10m to 25m.
Independent NSW MLC Justin Field said, “Clearing these boundaries was not a recommendation of the NSW Bushfire Inquiry. This is a push from the Nationals and some in the Liberal Party who are obsessed with making nature the enemy and are using the bushfire response to push their agenda to clear more land across all tenures.
“Some of our most loved nature reserves, coastal walks, beachfront vegetation and parklands could be at risk from this damaging proposal. This could be used by some private landholders to demand councils clear beach fronts and bushland to open up views.
“There is a real question about what will this mean for iconic South Coast National Parks like Seven Mile Beach, Jervis Bay, Murramarang, Eurobodalla National Parks and some of the magnificent State Forests, many of which butt up against local villages and towns?
“Successive councils and state Governments have allowed new housing development right alongside National Park and State Forest boundaries and now elements of the Government are trying to blame the forests for increasing fire risks? “This idea should be rejected outright. The South Coast community loves our forests and are devastated by the impact the fires have had on them and the community. We need to develop strategies to live in harmony with nature, not in fear.
“The Bushfire Inquiry report identified that targeted hazard reduction has a role but also has limitations. Just removing bushland will be devastating to nature and the community and give a false sense of security.
“Our local South Coast MPs need to follow the science and stick to the recommendations in the inquiry. They must stand up for the recovery of our forests and native animals and work to develop a plan for mitigating bushfire risk that can protect homes and nature, not pit one against the other,” Justin Field said. In a heart felt message Justin Field has posted to social media "Can you call your local MP right now and demand they oppose this damaging proposal that will risk clearing thousands of hectares of bushland and forests across the NSW"
"From The Australian newspaper we've found out this morning that Cabinet will discuss plans today to allow massive new clearing of trees on private and potentially public land before the next bushfire season. The changes is being proposed under guise of bushfire protection. "The NSW Bushfire Inquiry made 76 recommendations and THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THEM!
"The NSW community loves our forests and are devastated by the impact the fires have had on them. We need to develop strategies to live in harmony with nature, not in fear.
Again - this WAS NOT a recommendation of the detailed bushfire inquiry.
"CALL YOUR LOCAL MP TODAY - Ask them to oppose this damaging clearing and to focus on the bushfire inquiry recommendations that will make a big difference to bushfire risk and community resilience without destroying nature."
Above: The Australian, 6 Oct 202, p2: Permitted fire-prone clearing doubled - image Justin Field