Sunday, November 16, 2014

Government pyromaniacs planning to disrupt our farming operations by burning native vegetation

Victoria's Department of Environment and Primary Industries has developed a 'planned burning' strategy in  a misguided and idiotic attempt to improve fire safety. As an example, we have recieved a notice that swamp scrub alongside our farm will be burned.
The area alongside our farm which is earmarked for burning
is hatched.

A burn right alongside us will have serious environmental implications as well as threaten our farm. Here's a letter I have sent to our State Minster for the Environment, Ryan Smith:

I am concerned that your Department plans to burn swamp scrub at the edge of the Grantvillle Nature Conservation Reserve in the next round of burning. It's too late this year, by far. Hasn't been safe for the whole winter. But the question is why would anyone burn swamp scrub? It is wet for most of the year - it provides habitat for bandicoots and skinks and Swamp Harriers nest there every year. It is considered an endangered vegetation community. VicRoads had to pay approx. $1.3m to offset some weed infested swamp scrub and sedgeland for the duplication of the Bass Highway near the Corinella turnoff. The area of the planned burn is also the headwaters of one of the few remaining permanent creeks running into the Bass River and feeds the one connected perched swamp. Contrary to the advice in DEPI's letter once this is burned it won't come back. The transevaporative effects will kill off the scrub, ferns, fungi, bladderworts etc. There is so little swamp scrub left that it makes no sense to burn it – far from any claims of making the bush safer from wildfire, it will make the area more fire-prone by changing the vegetation type.
If this 'planed burn' alongside our farm, gets away it will be responsible for the destruction of 100% of the remaining swamp scrub in this region and probably most of the remnant riparian vegetation on the Bass River.

On top of the environmental threat, there are serious health issues involved here, My wife Anne, is asthmatic and will not be able to remain on the farm while the burn takes place. Smoke from the Morwell coal pit fire drifted right down here, caused breathing difficulties for me which resulted in atrial fibrilation, heart failure and culminated in a stroke. Thankfully I have recovered well, but I can't go through that again.

If this burn goes ahead, we will have to leave the property which means that DEPI will need to provide accommodation for us as well as fund staff required to run the farm for the duration of the burn (we operate a free range egg farm).If the burn and resultant poor air quality coveers  an extended period of time we may be forced to cease operations permanently.
Here's one patch of swamp scrub under threat
And more which will disappear under the 'planned burn' protocol 

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