Australia — New laws have passed through both Houses of Parliament giving residents in designated bushfire-prone areas additional powers to protect their homes.
The new laws make it easier to clear trees and vegetation from around a property.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said the new laws allow homeowners to take necessary steps to prepare their property in case of a bushfire.
“Last summer we saw the devastating impact of bushfire. The new rules ensure we cut the red tape for residents whose homes are located in designated areas close to bushland, so they can clear trees and vegetation from their property,” Mr Ayres said.
“Under the new laws, people with homes in a bushfire zone will be able to clear trees within 10 metres of their house.”
The designated bushfire zone areas – known as a ’10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area’ – will be determined by the Rural Fire Service.
Homeowners will also be able to clear shrubs and other vegetation, except for trees, within 50 metres of their house.
“The NSW Government has worked closely with the RFS to develop these new rules which will empower landowners to minimise the fuel loads near their homes – a key fire prevention goal,” Mr Ayres said.
Minister for Planning Pru Goward said the new rules will also apply to high-risk facilities.
“Under these changes staff at facilities including schools, child care centres and hospitals in designated zones will be able to remove trees and vegetation that pose a bushfire risk,” Ms Goward said.
Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said it is vital residents are given every reasonable opportunity to protect their homes and families against the type of devastating bushfires seen last season.
“We need to ensure communities such as the Blue Mountains are prepared for bushfire and these changes will give residents the flexibility they need to clear their property from that risk,” Mrs Sage said.
The consultation period will commence shortly. For more information go to the NSW Rural Fire Service website – www.rfs.nsw.gov.au