Government slashes roadside slashing budget
11 January 2017
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has called on the Andrews Labor Government to reinstate funding for roadside slashing on the brink of another major fire season.
Ms Ryan said she had been contacted by many constituents who were concerned about the lack of slashing being undertaken and that is was essential for the government to provide the funding needed.
“There is an extreme fire danger being posed to Victorians by the out of control growth on roadsides and public land in country Victoria right now,” Ms Ryan said.
“Major risk areas which have been raised with me include the Hume Freeway, the Northern Highway and the Midland Highway.
“Some slashing has been undertaken by VicRoads however reductions in budget from the state government means it has been less than previous years.”
Baddaginnie resident Kevin Nankervis’ property has nearly four kilometres of freeway frontage said the roadside was the worst he had ever seen it.
“No one has made any attempt to clean up the debris, you can’t walk along it and the grass is over the top of the fences,” Mr Nankervis said.
“We are only three to four kilometres away from the Strathbogies and there nothing to stop a fire if it starts and there are fires starting quite regularly on the freeway.
“The fact is that the government is spending a huge amount of money telling us to get out and prepare for the fire season but they are doing nothing.”
Ms Ryan said after the recent wet conditions roadside slashing was more important than ever this fire season.
“This has been a bumper season for growth and there is grass growing at a wild rate on our roadsides,” Ms Ryan said.
“The government must recognise this and act accordingly to reduce the risk of people being trapped during a fire, not to mention the risk of fires spreading into nearby farmland.
“The Andrews Labor Government must reverse its reduction in funding for slashing to help reduce the risk to Victorians.”
Photo: Kevin Nankervis and Steph Ryan on the roadside of the Hume Freeway at Baddaginnie.