With the Princes Highway having been closed for all of January this year due to fires, the Government has refused to commit to undertaking the roadside clearing that would assist considerably in dealing with such an occurrence in the future.
At a post fire meeting, Orbost and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry moved a motion to have further roadside clearing operations on the Princes Highway from Nowa Nowa to the NSW border to create a strategic fuel break, improve the safety of the highway for vehicles and to minimise the disruption to traffic following fire and storm events.
Some clearing was done in the works undertaken to re-open the Highway and the Chamber sought for this to be continued as such a break would result in less disruption in the advent of a future event.
It was a stance supported by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, who said the economic impact of having the road closed for a month greatly impacted the region.
“There was some great clearing work done, which can be seen, but there is much more to do and it was an issue I raised with the Minister in April.
“It has taken until November to get a response and the disappointing element is the Roads Minister has basically said it is not going to happen as ‘a wider buffer is not a one‐size‐fits‐all solution, whether 10 metres or the full tree height, and it would not eliminate fire risks’.
“The silly thing about this is neither the Orbost Chamber or myself suggested it would eliminate all fire risk, what we were stating is that it would help get the road open quicker in future as well as providing a better fire break for our fire services,” said Mr Bull.
Monday, November 23, 2020