"Rail corridors pose low fire risk" says Minister Hunter

Wednesday 04 January 2017

Member for Goyder Steven Griffiths MP was astonished to today receive a letter from Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter MLC advising that densely vegetated rail corridors in the district pose a low fire risk, “and will have little impact on the spread of a fast-moving grass fire.”

On 7 November 2016 Mr. Griffiths contacted Minister Hunter in response to concerns from local constituents about potential fire risks on rail corridors within the electorate, some areas described as having been “left to grow wild with four-foot high turnips”.

Having also observed the high density vegetation in the corridors himself, fueled by the above average spring rainfall, Mr. Griffiths urged the Minister to ensure adequate bushfire prevention work was undertaken as soon as possible.

“Local farmers in particular, who diligently ensure they meet strict firebreak requirements, are understandably upset when corridors a short distance away remain unkempt,” he said.

“Whilst advising there are 1,600 parcels of Crown land (including rail corridors) in the electorate of Goyder, the Minister reassured that ‘action is taken to reduce fuel loads where there is a high risk to assets, for example, areas close to townships’”, Mr. Griffiths said.  

“However, I was surprised to read the Minister’s next statement, which read: “I understand that most of the rail corridors that you mention pose a low fire risk and will have little impact on the spread of a fast-moving grass fire.”

“It is very disappointing the valid fears of constituents in this matter have been dismissed with such a statement, and I can only hope that the Minister is proved right”, Mr. Griffiths said.