Fire risk from out-of-control growth on roadsides
22 December 2017
Long grass growing on arterial roadsides across northern and central Victoria is exacerbating the region’s fire risk.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has called on the Andrews Labor Government to take urgent action to fund VicRoads to slash roadsides across the region.
The call comes after Ms Ryan met with Kilmore East resident Peter Medley to discuss his concerns about the out-of-control growth on the Broadford-Kilmore Road.
Ms Ryan said fire risk was a major concern to local residents.
“Overgrowth of vegetation on roadsides is becoming a concern for residents across the electorate,” Ms Ryan said.
“At the moment VicRoads only slashes arterial roadsides once a year which is not enough to manage the fuel load during summer.
“The grass out the front of Mr Medley’s house is higher than my shoulder. As it dries off, all it will take is a careless cigarette butt thrown from a car window to start a major blaze.”
Ms Ryan said in the aftermath of Black Saturday, the Bushfires Royal Commission had highlighted the importance of managing clearing along roadsides and some arterial roads.
The Commission noted: ‘in the case of bushfires, roads and roadsides can be important fuel breaks, so road managers need to reduce the fuel levels in preparation for the fire season’. (p.16 – Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report Summary).
“Funding cuts have evidently reduced VicRoads’ capacity to undertake slashing across the region.
“Labor is brushing off the concerns of residents who are worried about the fire risk caused by poorly maintained roadsides.
“VicRoads needs to be given adequate funding to keep the growth of grass in areas such as the Broadford-Kilmore Rd in check,” Ms Ryan said.