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We have been hearing about these new laws since the Media Release by Michael Gallacher on 13 November 2013.

Mr Gallacher said:

“We are also developing new rules which when commenced will allow homeowners in designated bush fire prone areas to clear trees near their homes to protect their property from bush fires, in an environmentally responsible way, without the requirement of an assessment or approval”

The Media Release stated that:

It would mean residents in designated bush fire prone areas will not need to seek permission to sensibly clear vegetation that is posing a fire risk from around their property. When the new rules are implemented, home owners adjacent to and those in close proximity to bushland will not need to get permission to clear trees within 10 metres of their homes, on their own land. They will be able to clear undergrowth and shrubs within 50 metres of their homes, on their own land.

Time for an Update

The RFS has just published an update in an eBulletin (Issue 23 – June 2014)

It provides the following information:

Residents will be given additional powers to protect their homes from bush fires, with new laws introduced into NSW Parliament to make it easier to clear trees and vegetation from around a property.

Under the new laws, people with homes in a bush fire zone will be able to clear trees within 10 metres of their home, and other vegetation except trees within 50 metres of their house.

The NSW RFS Commissioner will determine where the 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement areas are and these areas will be published on the NSW RFS website.

The laws are designed to empower landowners to minimise the fuel loads near their homes. “A well prepared property, along with a completed Bush Fire Survival Plan, can minimise the risk of loss of life and property,” Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

The NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the measures on 29 May. “We saw last summer how devastating bush fires can be, which is why we are removing regulatory obstacles on homeowners who want to take sensible steps to protect their properties from bush fires,” Mr Baird said.

The legislation also applies to high-risk non-residential buildings, such as schools and hospitals in designated zones.

Eligible residents will not be able to begin clearing until after the laws are passed in NSW Parliament and the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice is finalised by the NSW RFS. Residents will be able to check their eligibility using the NSW RFS web tool which will be available once the laws are passed.

We are now very keen to see the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice.

10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice

The code of practice has not been published yet but the RFS has published the following information of their web site:

Proposed 10/50 rule to improve bush fire protection

If you live in a designated ‘10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area’, the proposed laws will allow you to:

Clear trees on your property within 10 metres of a home, without seeking approval; and
Clear underlying vegetation such as shrubs on your property within 50 metres of a home, without seeking approval.

You will be able to search for your property online to find out if you live in a 10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement area once the laws come into force. The online search will also let you know of any restrictions such as the slope of your property or areas of cultural significance which need to be protected.

RFS Link: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=4615

An Interview with Brian Williams (Vice President VFFA)

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