At the time of going to print, there are FIVE CREWS working on a GOVT SANCTIONED 70 mts x 256 kms CLEARING that cuts across the Thomson catchment.
The DSE claimed it learnt from the squandering of the Yalmy Road and the Snowy National Park in the 2003 fires. Now we understand how! The Minister has approved an even longer broad and lifeless band of dirt to encircle the entire Melbourne water catchment! And hey – just look at those logs coming out of the Yarra Ranges National Park!
If this so-called firebreak is finished, it will destroy a site of Global Zoological Significance for the Baw Baw frog. It will impact on the Nationally Significant Montane Fens (found nowhere else) and it will go up onto the Baw Baw Plateau and destroy several other sites of National Botanical Significance. Of note – there were proposals to build a road across the Baw Baw Plateau a while ago but it was scrapped as it would severely degrade the ecosystems there (!).
Fire fighters say it won’t stop a fire as embers can spot 5-15kms in front of a fire. They would be trapped if they sat at this clearing waiting to give the fire front a squirt.
A 70 mt clearing creates a beaut hoon highway though. Mr Bracks wants it to remain as a permanent clearing. A 256 km dirt or even grassed break will cost millions to maintain, probably require thousands of gallon of herbicide and tree killer sprayed around the catchment’s edge annually, but achieve bugger all in a fierce fire. Meanwhile it will dry out the forest edges, cause erosion and untold impacts on biodiversity.
The standard planning processes for this type of vegetation clearance have all been ripped up and pissed upon. Every government regulation in the book has been ignored. This wacky, simple-minded solution to a fire is the brainchild of either a panic-stricken infant or a bunch of greedy manipulators that should be in jail. For the Minister to approve this shows he’s gone round the bend. The atrocity was started off after the fire threat had passed. But what a massive haul of logs from parks and otherwise ‘locked up’ areas!
Oh, and by the way – bulldozer owner/operators can earn up to $4,000 a day.