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Fire Trails Success


415/07                                                                                                                          12 September 2007




Plans for proposed fire trails in Namadgi National Park have now been finalised after extensive community consultation, with plans for the most controversial trail being dropped and plans for another suspended to give time to explore alternative options, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced today.


Following extensive environmental investigations, and consultation with park users, environmentalists and the Bush Fire Council, and public meetings, it is proposed:


  • to start work on the Bullen Range fire trail this summer. The proposed trail, which is close to Weston Creek and Tuggeranong, will enable the Government to conduct hazard reduction burning to protect Canberra suburbs from bushfire. No significant community or environmental issues were identified in relation to this trail;
  • the proposed Stockyard Spur and Link Trail will be subject to further assessment. While no significant issues were identified in relation to the overgrown Spur section, the proposed Link section involved some real concerns in relation to erosion, impact on water quality, access and  weeds. The Government will now assess the possibility of upgrading the walking trail and look at constructing a turnaround capacity on the spur trail, doing away with the necessity for trail work on a very steep section of land that falls into the water catchment area;
  • the Spencers Trail proposal will be put on hold while the Government looks at alternative options. This trail is intended to duplicate an existing trail on nearby private property in NSW. Use of that trail needs to be agreed with  the landowner. The area near the proposed trail was burned by fire in 2006-07 and it is considered unlikely that fires will present a problem in the next 12 months, giving the Government time to explore options;
  • the proposed Orroral Tors Fire Trail will not proceed. Territory and Municipal Services and the Emergency Services Authority will continue to work together to identify an alternative approach. There was significant opposition to this proposed trail from the Indigenous community and park users, including bush walkers. The Government believes there may be lower-impact alternatives that will achieve the same strategic purpose. The current review of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan and  the preparation of sub-regional fire management plans is expected to identify alternatives to achieve fire management objectives in this area.

Mr Stanhope said that the Government had worked exhaustively with stakeholders to meet their concerns and he was extremely pleased with the result, which would allow the Government to better protect the community from potential fires, whilst maintaining environmental values and addressing the legitimate concerns of various interest groups.


Statement Ends

The ABC made it a news item see here.


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