MEMBER for Barker Tony Pasin has called for effective management of roadside vegetation as the fire danger season continues across the country.
In a statement to The Border Watch, Mr Pasin said excessive fire loads on roadsides was a common point raised by his constituents.
“As I speak to those directly affected by the fires I consistently hear of the frustrations around excessive fire loads,” he said.
“While much of this frustration is concerned with native vegetation, road side grasses add to unnecessary fire risk.”
One idea to reduce fire loads has been the release of roadside grazing and droving permits.
As it stands in South Australia, roadside vegetation is under the control of individual councils and although he has called for effective management, Mr Pasin said it was a matter for local government.
“While I would be supportive of grazing roadsides, if local government make the decision to not allow droving of stock along roadsides, the vegetation needs to be managed effectively to reduce fire risk,” he said.
“Roadside vegetation management has always been the responsibility of local government and I believe should remain locally managed.
“The last thing we need is to increase legislative barriers to roadside vegetation management by involving additional levels of state and/or federal bureaucracies.”
This comes as across the border in Western Victoria, State Liberal MP Bev McArthur has proposed an immediate suspension of any relevant state and federal regulation that inhibits the permits.
Ms McArthur wrote a letter to Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, pleading with her to correspond with the Roads and Environment ministers to do whatever is practicable in allowing roadside grazing to more easily occur.
This comes after Ms Symes recently told the media that “if you lose your stock you lose your livelihood”.
“Farmers in fire-affected communities desperately require agistment and clean water for their stock,” Ms McArthur said.
“Locals in Western Victoria drive on roads plagued by out-of-control vegetation; local councils struggle to reduce the fuel load and we risk roadsides becoming fire wicks.
“Donations to Wildlife Victoria and the CFA are obviously charitable and thoughtful, but the real crisis facing these communities is that facing stock owners.
“No amount of clothes, money or hay is going to keep cattle alive without water.
“It is imperative that over-zealous regulations that prevent fire-affected farmers from obtaining roadside grazing permits are suspended for at least 12 months, so that ‘the long paddock’ becomes the saviour of our fire-ravaged livestock.”