We recently travelled around NSW visiting bushfire affected towns. One of the most distressing things raised with us by communities still reeling from the damage done by the fires is the planned removal of remaining intact forest in their area for development. Often these large developments were approved 10 or more years ago and no substantial work has been done on them in the meantime. Clearly the circumstances in which these developments were approved are seriously different to the circumstances now. This should be enough to justify a moratorium on this clearing pending a comprehensive review of planned developments, particularly those that include wide scale land clearing.
We know that many of these communities are at much higher risk from fires than previously understood, habitat has been destroyed and remaining standing forest is more important than ever, and community safety consideration have changed – meaning the dramatic increases in populations that some of these developments would entail could potentially put people at risk when catastrophic bushfires hit.
If you want to join the campaign for a moratorium on clearing in all bushfire areas you can download and print this petition: Moratorium on land clearing following fires
You can also contact your local MP to ask them to support a moratorium.
We are also calling on everyone to contact the Minister for Planning Rob Stokes directly to push for a moratorium on all land clearing related to development in bushfire affected areas.