The RFS hope vegetation clearing laws will be legislated by parliament before the start of bushfire season on October 1.
The RFS hope vegetation clearing laws will be legislated by parliament before the start of bushfire season on October 1. Adam Hourigan

Have your say on new clearing laws

IF THICK bush or trees near your Northern Rivers property have you on edge during bushfire season you can now have your say on new vegetation clearing laws soon to be implemented.

Rural Fire Service RFS Northern Rivers Superintendent Michael Brett said the new 10/50 vegetation clearing laws were developed in the wake of the devastating 2013 Blue Mountains bushfires.

"A lot of residents had concern that they had to seek approval to clear vegetation around their properties," he said.

The new laws streamline the process for landholders in bushfire prone areas to clear their property, Supt Brett said without obtaining a hazard reduction certificate as they previously did from the RFS.

He said this required the local RFS brigade to access the risk before issuing each hazard reduction certificate.

"It will give a person that owns a property in a bushfire prone area a streamlined process to personally assess their own bushfire risk and see whether their property would fall under the guise of the vegetation clearing laws."

Once the law comes into effect, Supt Brett said the NSW RFS will have an online tool available on its website where people can check if they're in a designated 10/50 vegetation clearing area.

The new laws will permit landholders to clear any trees on their property within 10 metres of their home, Supt Brett said, and thin vegetation other than trees within 50 metres of their home.

Supt Brett called on all concerned landholders to comment on the new vegetation laws on the RFS website before public consultation closes on July 21.

He said the RFS hoped the vegetation clearing laws would be legislated by parliament before the start of bushfire season on October 1. Until the laws are formalised, following the consultation period, existing rules and penalties apply.

To see the draft code of practice visit http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.



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