Improving community safety in the face of increasing risk from bushfires is not a choice between human welfare and environmental integrity. This is a false choice and if pursued will result in giving people a false sense of security while ignoring other more important safety measures.
Most recently this false choice has been played out in the Victorian Governments announcement of the 10/30 rule. This rule grants people permission to clear all vegetation including trees to within 10m of their house, other vegetation to within 30 metres of their house and clear to 4m of a property boundary without a planning permit.
The consequences of this new 'right' will be many wrongs and the evidence that this will reduce bushfire risk doesn't stack up.
There are many people in areas like the Dandenong Ranges that have been fighting for decades to preserve the environment. Hills residents have always lived with the dangers of fire. In the past, risk has been managed by sensible low level burns, education and people taking responsibility for their own safety without destroying the features which attract many of us to these places. Protecting people and the environment have always coexisted here.
All this will change with 10/30.
The Living with the Bush Coalition aims to bring together people and groups that believe areas like the Dandenong Ranges are worth fighting for. As a Coalition, we can be one voice to fight the government on the 10/30 rule.
Please check the website for details, and to endtse the Living with the Bush charter.