Have your say about the management of rural roadsides

Submissions closed on 07 June 2021, 05:00 PM

We are seeking community feedback about a draft Roadside Conservation Management Plan, and Council’s program of roadside slashing for fire mitigation.

The draft plan sets out a series of actions aimed at protecting the conservation values of the shire’s rural roadsides while managing fire risk and maintaining road safety. 

It also identifies that Council’s roadside slashing program is an important part of roadside management. The program plays a critical role in fire mitigation across the shire by aiming to minimise the risk of fires starting from cars stopping on the side of roads.

  • Council manages approximately 1,700km of roadsides – for protection and enhancement of biodiversity and habitat, to manage fire risks, and to ensure vehicle access and public safety.
  • Native vegetation found on the roadsides is highly significant. It provides essential landscape connectivity and is often critical habitat for threatened flora and fauna.
  • The draft Roadside Conservation Management Plan aims to protect these important ecological values within the road reserve whilst ensuring appropriate fire risk mitigation and maintenance of road safety.
  • Roadside management is inevitably complex, however with careful consideration and planning, practices like woody weed control can help meet multiple goals such as fuel reduction and biodiversity protection.
  • Key actions in the plan include:
  • a new permit system for environmental works on roadsides
  • improved training, processes and information for Council staff
  • a community education program to help residents understand the value and management of roadsides.
  • The Draft Roadside Conservation Management Plan uses the conservation values of the roadsides to guide management actions. As guiding principles, the draft plan has the following goals:
  • to maintain the conservation value of very high value roadsides 
  • to improve the conservation value of high and medium value roadsides
  • to strategically restore habitat values to increase landscape connectivity and reduce threats on low conservation value roadsides.
  • Council currently slashes approximately 800km of roads annually. 
  • The aim of our program is to prevent a fire from starting if a car was to pull over on the side of the road and the hot exhaust ignites the long grass. It can also assist in preventing fires starting from vehicle collisions.
  • The roads that we slash are identified in consultation with local CFA brigades and are focused on high use roads, bus routes, main roads and roads that provide egress in the case of an emergency. These roads are also endorsed by the Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee. 
  • This year we are reviewing the annual slashing program and seeking your feedback on which road/s should be included. With limited resources, we can't slash every road, so we need to strike the right balance between making our roads safe for drivers, preventing fires from starting on our roadsides, and protecting our natural environment. We also need to comply with native vegetation regulations. 
  • Roads for treatment are identified using the following criteria:
  • High-use roads
  • Main roads leading out of town
  • Roads that provide an exit route in an emergency
  • Bus routes

If you couldn't join in our online presentation on Monday 17 May, you can watch a recording of the session below.