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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sensitive slashing at Nillumbik

Nillumbik Shire Council in Victoria, known as the "Green Wedge Shire", has already been in the news for its fire-friendly town planning policies going back to 2003. This here is the original warning provided to the Council by David Packham, including the prophetic line: "The Shire of Nillumbik is living on borrowed time."

In addition, the ShadowLands has uncovered this enlightening paper the Council provided to the Victorian Government's inquiry into land and bio-diversity in June 2008.

Most interestingly, they were asked to respond to questions (at 6.10) about fire management. When asked: "Are you willing to accept the increased use of fire in the landscape for ecological objectives and to reduce the risk of long term risk?" they replied:
"During controlled burning periods, the Council has received community complaints about pollution and increased greenhouse gas emissions..."
Not exactly a yes. Further, they were clearly not convinced by the effectiveness of burning off:
"Council believes there will be greater acceptance of prescribed burning if there is sound scientific evidence (from fuel loads) to show that burning is necessary and other methods of fuel reduction have been considered."
To the question, "Are current planning processes adequate?" the Council responds, somewhat bizarrely:
"Council believes there should be consideration of greenhouse gas pollution produced from undertaking such burns and the possible contributions to climate change. There may be alternative methods for reducing fire risk to assets such as sensitive slashing or fine fuel removal in firebreak areas."
And to: "Are you willing to avoid future development in high fire risk areas?" they respond:
"There will need to be education of landholders in undertaking fire protection measures around assets in a manner which is sensitive to the environment."

1 comment:

Boy on a bike said...

I love those responses - I used to write them for a living. I was well trained by an expert in how to say nothing, whilst sounding sincere. Commit to nothing whilst making vague promises to "further study the issue" or "undertake wider consultation within an approprate timeframe".

As soon as I read this bureaucratic bullshit, I instantly know that whoever wrote it is up to no good - because we used to write like that to cover up disasters, or to politely obscure the fact that we were absolutely not going to do what we were being asked to do.