Be careful what you clear

MANY people query what they can or can’t clear on roadsides, but be warned, if you clear anything you shouldn’t, you may be fined.

In April 2019, an officer from the Department for Environment and Water inspected the intermittent clearance of roadside vegetation totalling approximately 3km on the Bowillia East Road at Kybunga following notification from Wakefield Regional Council (WRC) this clearance had occurred.

The cleared vegetation consisted of local native Mallee trees.

Following enquiries with a local landowner, it was determined the clearance had occurred via a contractor engaged tograde the road in order to enable farm machinery to move along the roadway.

The clearance was determined to be contrary to the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and was undertaken without consent.

The land owner was provided with information about the provisions of the Act and the process of applying for clearance approval, where permissible, including the requirement to follow roadside management guidelines.

As the clearance occurred without the necessary approvals, an expiation notice was issued.

WRC advised it gives authority to landholders to control proclaimed weeds – that is ‘noxious and/or crawling weeds which damage and pose a threat to other vegetation.’

If a landholder wants to control an unproclaimed weed or tree, WRC advised they need to call the NRM board, who is the peak body on protection of this vegetation.

“We strongly encourage landholders, before embarking on weed control, to call the NRM board or go to their website, because as we’ve seen, it’s all too easy to get mistaken between proclaimed weeds and native wattle grasses,” a WRC spokesperson said.

“Most landholders have long understood the need to preserve these areas of our landscape and have an eye for spotting indigenous flora over the common weed, but this takes experience and knowledge, and it never hurts to double check.”