AS the weather warms up and the grass takes off, people across the Wimmera will be on their mowers and slashers trying to keep on top of the situation.
There is added urgency to the task this season, with rampant growth after a long wet winter and a huge jump in fines for people who do not comply with fire prevention notices.
State Government changes to the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 have pushed fines for non-compliance from $282 to a massive $1410. That’s a pretty big incentive for property owners to take on board the fire prevention message.
Penalties for lighting fires during the fire danger period have also jumped – from $7050 to $16,920 or 12 months in jail. Or both.
Council officers are poised to begin inspecting properties across the Wimmera in coming weeks, to make sure vegetation is cut to a height of 100 millimetres – that’s four inches in old money – and rubbish and fire hazards are removed.
We are sure councils will do their bit by mowing roadsides, public verges and other municipal sites.
In the interests of Tidy Towns and assisting residents to comply in a spirit of goodwill, each council could well launch a spring clean-up campaign. Free hard waste and green waste collections in towns, coupled with free dumping of green waste at transfer stations would be a start.
Recycling of such material would more than recoup costs of such a program.
While on the subject of fire prevention, state authorities are also on their mettle to ensure their areas of responsibility are not fire hazards, whether those areas be highways, railways, bushland or other public lands.
Meanwhile, with a big stick hovering overhead in the form of heavy penalties for non-compliance, Wimmera people will jump on their mowers and try to keep the jungle at bay.
A co-operative clean-up campaign carrot from councils would be a nice gesture to balance that big stick of penalties.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.