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Anderson welcomes improved bushfire hazard reduction scheme

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has welcomed the improvements to the 10/50 bushfire hazard reduction scheme, which will provide better protection for property, critical habitat and animals.

Mr Anderson said the review of the 10/50 scheme by the NSW RFS, Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Planning concluded that residents should retain the right to protect their homes from bushfire, and made 30 recommendations to tighten the scheme and also include the protection of farm sheds.

“The 10/50 scheme was introduced after the devastating 2013 bushfires, and it enables residents in bushfire-prone areas to remove trees within 10m and vegetation within 50m of their property without seeking approval” Mr Anderson said.

“The NSW Government accepted all 30 recommendations and introduced legislation to Parliament to amend the Rural Fires Act 1997 and separately tighten the NSW RFS Code of Practice.

“Property owners should be empowered to protect their property, but it was clear that some people were clearing trees for reasons which had nothing to do with bushfire protection,” Mr Anderson said.

“The new scheme will exclude critically endangered plants and habitats, and provide better protection for these areas. Local residents can still check their eligibility online” Mr Anderson said.

Rural Fire Service Zone Manager for Tamworth Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said over 3500 submissions were made to the working group.

“The issues raised were quite complex and took a lot of working through, but ultimately the recommendations are common sense, and bring the 10/50 scheme into line with existing legislation”.

“The recommendations clear up what is excluded and what isn’t, and will help protect koala habitats, Aboriginal sites, and local heritage trees” Mr Purkiss said.

Residents can check their eligibility for the 10/50 scheme and also view a copy of the report at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/1050.

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