CHANGES TO 10/50 FIRE CLEARING SCHEME PASS LOWER HOUSE

MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the passage of legislation through the Legislative Assembly last night which will improve the state’s 10/50 vegetation clearing laws for people in country NSW.

The 10/50 scheme, introduced after the devastating 2013 bushfires, enables residents in bushfire-prone areas to remove trees within 10 metres and vegetation within 50 metres of their property without seeking approval.

Mr Marshall, who spoke in support of the legislation last night in the Parliament, said the changes were “a huge win for the bush”.

“The current law restricted 10/50 clearing provisions to around people’s homes, excluding all other buildings, including farm sheds,” Mr Marshall said.

“These changes expand the definitions to include all permanent farm sheds, whether they be used to house machinery, chemicals, workshops or hay, among many other things.

“This is a common-sense change that I argued for in Parliament in June last year when speaking on the original Bill.”

Mr Marshall said he was very pleased that his lobbying of two Emergency Services Ministers, on behalf of rural communities, had paid off.

“Farm sheds hold valuable machinery, feed stock, chemicals and other assets and are often considered more valuable than a farmer’s home,” he said.

“It was quite remiss of the original 10/50 legislation not to have catered for clearing around these buildings too.

“I’m very pleased Minister Elliot brought forward the statutory review of the legislation which facilities these changes being made, among other to protect key environmental assets in coastal and metropolitan areas.

“I strongly believe that property owners should be empowered to clear around their homes and valuable farm assets to better protect them from fire.

“These changes are very timely given the upcoming bushfire season, which is predicted to be one of the most severe in a number of years.”

During his speech in the parliamentary debate last night Mr Marshall paid tribute to the hundreds of NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers who would be manning the fire grounds over the upcoming summer period.

“I acknowledge the dedication and professionalism of our local RFS volunteers and thank them in advance of this year’s fire season for the outstanding service they will render again, protecting property and life,” Mr Marshall said.

NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers said it would work with rural and regional councils to update their bushfire prone land maps.

“It is important to ensure that grasslands are more comprehensively mapped as grass fires pose a high fire risk to rural and regional property owners,” he said.

Residents can check their eligibility for the 10/50 scheme and also view a copy of the review report at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/1050

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