Have your say on new guidelines for managing native vegetation on roadsides

Please let us know your thoughts on the new The Interim Guidelines for the Management of Roadside Native Vegetation by leaving a comment in the box below.

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John Teague

01 Jan 2019

I think that the roadside should be cleared by no less than 5 metres either side particularly North of Goyder’s line as that is where I live.
The vegetation is allowed at the moment in various places to encroach past the white marker post on the side of the road.
The problems this causes are:
1. Too many collisions with animals causing damage to road user vehicles
2. Increased cost to all South Australians for insurance.
3. Pain and suffering for the animals, when hit and left with broken legs, waiting for the crows to peck their eyes out next morning while still alive. This is because the animals, especially the kangaroos are sheltering in the vegetation close to the road. When startled by oncoming traffic they tend to hop on to the road into passing traffic. The dead animals then attract the eagles which are another safety hazard for vehicles.
4. Danger for emergency vehicles travelling at night, particularly ambulances when they need to hurry a patient to hospital.
5. Travellers with caravans and truck drivers have difficulty in being able to park their vehicle away from the traffic if they have a punctured tyre or breakdown. Try changing a tyre on a caravan when the side of the caravan is still level with the bitumen road.
6. If for some reason a car or 4wd needs to pull off the road the risk of starting a fire where there is vegetation is very great as most petrol cars have a catalytic converter.
I do agree that some areas create a pretty drive between the native vegetation but when it is only low bush or acacias, as we have in our area, it is detrimental to vehicles and animals.
I don’t think one solution covers all areas of South Australia as we have so much variation in our state.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > John Teague

11 Jan 2019

Hi John, Thanks for your contribution. You make some important points when it comes to road issues in South Australia. Whilst we will take them into consideration, we must also address the significance of the vegetation within the road reserves. As you mention, a single solution that covers the entire State is challenging, yet we hope to find a balanced outcome once we consider all comments from public and other stakeholders.

Sue Merchant

01 Jan 2019

RSV is a necessity for the continuation of Aus.'s natural heritage/inheritance. In many areas, if at all, RSV is the only scrub available/left fr wild life existence. (The poor buggers living a linear life, sticking to corridors!) On the business level RSV act as windbreaks fr farmland, controlling of weeds, shelter for live stock, the slowing/catchment of water runoff off & holding down salinity. On KI new big machinery farmers r wanting to widen roads thus cutting back vegetation fr the conveyance of their over sized farming machinery. I say look at the English country side where 'natural veg' is at a minimum & it is accepted that farmers use the mostly very narrow country roads. The English machinery & farm businesses survive! Since the English Empire took root Aus has followed it's farming model so why stop now! Keep our road widths to a minimum, learn to work around this & thus look after our dwindling wildlife & natural heritage. Do u remember the joy u felt as a kid going fr a trip to the eucalypt smelling country side, the wildflowers & spotting a kangaroo? Watch ur kids loving the bush. Also, come on educated people, we've all been to school in the last 20 to 50 years. We know we need to stop being selfish & petty & to get on with looking after our remnant vegetation! I know my next wanting/'satisfaction' from buying a new lounge suit, car, jeans, (iPhone x) is over so quickly ... let's hang on to the real satisfaction found in nature & keep RSV fr the kids at least. xx

Sue Merchant > Sue Merchant

01 Jan 2019

N.B. In support of roadside vegetation; speeding, failure to wear a seatbelt, driving under the influence, distraction and fatigue are the five major factors associated with road accidents & deaths.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Sue Merchant

11 Jan 2019

Hi Sue, Thank you for the comment. The importance of road reserve vegetation has not been lost on the Native Vegetation Branch. Whilst these Interim Guidelines are related to the maintenance and management of roadside vegetation through the clearance of regrowth, minimising native vegetation clearance is still a high priority. Making this clearer within the Guidelines will be something that we will address as we continue to develop the document.

Kaye Fels

31 Dec 2018

I feel there are two issues here. One for unsealed country roads with speed restrictions and one for highways. I am principally concerned about the roadsides of highways in this state. The safety of motorists is paramount on highways and given the extremely high incidence of kangaroos particularly in the northern areas any additional clearance enabling better visibility and less incidence of collisions is definitely a plus.
Not only is the vegetation more prevalent along these roadsides given the runoff from the bitumen but the damage to the road surface from the roots of trees and shrubs is another added cost burden. Also if the roadsides are not cleared for a considerable distance there is harbouring of noxious weeds quite often transmitted by graders and general vehicle means.
Having recently been in the NT and Victoria I am impressed by the added apron on the verges of the highways. This not only gives the driver, particularly of trucks and large RV's an added voyeur but protects the sides of the bitumen which are often windblown causing a deep edge which, if the wheel drops into it, causes loss of control and/or further damage to the side of the road.
I commend the government for taking the initiative to revisit this scenario and would be most pleased to have the verges widened and the vegetation cleared further for visibility and safety and add to the general upkeep of the road. As a person who does a considerable amount of night driving in country SA my insurance company would be sure to support my comments.
In terms of clearance for the purposes of weed visibility this would assist in decreasing the spread of weeds and enable clearer access for spraying and control. From what I have read here today most of the negative comments have come regarding roads on Kangaroo Island. As previously stated there may need to be two sets of guidelines but I am sure a lot of what I have stated could also be related to unsealed roads, particularly in terms of weed control.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Kaye Fels

11 Jan 2019

Thanks for the comment Kaye. Your feedback is appreciated and we will consider the points you have raised as we work towards a finalised Guidelines.

Barry Felberg

31 Dec 2018

I agree completely with everything Dr Phil Glatz has said in his submission. I have 13 acres of natural bushland which we have been hand weeding for 47 years and which is now heritage listed. I also hand weed 250metres of roadside verge which through this effort is largely intact.
A few years ago I had to convince a contractor not to mow this for CFS truck safety. As we were talking a pair of thrushes began feeding in the verge. My concern is that safety can always be used as a tool for clearance. 45 years ago the roadside verge in our road was largely intact
but with new arrivals it became weed infested and out came the brush cutters and chainsaws and our verge is now much more valuable.
I also note that fire races through grasses much faster than through bushland.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Barry Felberg

11 Jan 2019

Thanks Barry. While safety can always be used a tool for clearance, unfortunately it is something that we consistently have to address with roadside regrowth growing back into the carriageway. Whilst we understand the benefits that the vegetation provides, the Guidelines try to address a way that local councils can manage the regrowth within the various road types in a sustainable manner without contributing to further native vegetation decline. Thanks again for your comments.

Kathie Stove

31 Dec 2018

I live on Kangaroo Island and, in the 16 years since I moved here, have witnessed the year by year deterioration in the state of the roadside vegetation. Roadsides vegetation is now thinner, less healthy looking and less diverse. These 'guidelines' will only exacerbate the decline and ultimate destruction of yet another natural part of the world, and its plants and animals. Those things don't seem, of themselves, to matter anymore; so in the only terms that governments seem to care about - they will ensure the loss of income to South Australia and quicken the loss of the economic potential of the island.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Kathie Stove

09 Jan 2019

Hi Kathie, thank you for taking the time to comment. The intention of the Guidelines is to manage and maintain native vegetation regrowth along roadsides up to 20 years old with any clearance of remnant vegetation would still require NVC approval. Your concerns, and other similar in the comments will be certainly be considered as we review the Guidelines.

Dr Richard Glatz

31 Dec 2018

My background: I am a nationally established senior scientist with 20 years’ experience working with industry, with and for government (CSIRO and SARDI), and privately, on ecology and agriculture. I have specialised on Kangaroo Island, am the most published author of science papers about KI, and I have written one of the only detailed assessments of native vegetation management and the triple bottom line (based on KI systems). I am a registered vegetation consultant for DEW (I perform clearance assessments) and an editor for the journal Scientia Agricola.

My background and experience: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Richard_Glatz2

Native Vegetation and Ecosystem Services on KI: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/277324328_Native_Vegetation_and_Ecosystem_Services_on_Kangaroo_Island_landscape_resilience_and_the_triple_bottom_line/download

I have too many specific issues with the DEW process and new guidelines to deal with in a forum of this nature. My instinct has been to not waste time taking part in another YourSAy consultation. This is for two reasons upon which I will elaborate:
• integrity of the consultations
• low weight given to scientific considerations in management of vegetation, and biological systems generally

The previous consultation we took part in (the KI golf course debacle) was totally ignored, and misrepresented, by the government. We are still asking ourselves who was consulted on KI to squash the overwhelmingly negative result (and Ministerial decision) arising from the YourSAy “consultation”… no one on KI seems to know. It is one of the great mysteries of our time. I sincerely do not believe that input to this new consultation will have any bearing on the guidelines.

That aside, a bigger problem is that scientists are just members of the public when it comes to consultation. For someone like me, who I would have thought would be a relevant science voice, it has been incredibly hard on numerous occasions to have good scientific information even considered by DEW. Science plays virtually no role in the basis for the guideline changes.

DEW do not have the scientific capacity to form guidelines with a strong science underpinning; they do not employ leading scientists and they do not have direct access to science papers (as universities and SARDI do, for example). In simple terms, DEW have an administrative outlook but a role that requires science and no top scientists to perform it. The vegetation guideline changes are clearly based on complaints (mainly on private economic grounds), driven by political considerations, and produced by people with rudimentary (or no) science capability.

The guidelines have effectively already been innately and significantly weakened, through changes to the Native Vegetation Act in 2017 (i.e. no offset is required for “management plans” such as for roadside vegetation). Now they are being directly weakened, so more clearance is being allowed without approvals, and offsets are already gone. This is not based on any science and this consultation is just tinkering around the edges.

Also, what is the point of having (such watered down) guidelines anyway? KI council has been a serial offender when it comes to poor roadside vegetation management. In the previous few years, the council has enacted its own roadside management plan (of unknown origin) leading to large swathes of roadside being damaged and millions of dollars in lost ecosystem services to agriculture. This is ongoing. As a simple example, machinery used is wider than the allowable verge width. As another, graders used on many kilometres of roadside in breach of the current plan. This is the status quo under existing guidelines, let alone the new weaker ones. No real action is ever taken against the council for these breaches except for (another) slap on the wrist. How many councils have had to be sued over the matter? Probably only KI. How many councils have no internal knowledge of native vegetation? Probably only KI. And DEW wants to give them 20 years’ regrowth with no approval and poor science underpinning? Expect poor outcomes all round.

Look at the comments of the Barossa Council who clearly recognise that the guidelines are too weak to protect the vegetation. They seem to have a more idea about these issues than the DEW or NVC itself.

Safety issues are increasingly raised as the basis for these actions, because that has been a politically successful strategy for increasing vegetation clearance. However, no assessment of safety has been performed before or after road works. Road safety authorities do not mention roadside vegetation as a significant safety issue except for line of sight on corners and intersections. DEW are the primary organisation linking road safety outcomes to landscape scale vegetation clearance. Based on what evidence? In my opinion, the NVC has been made to drop the ball on roadside vegetation management and this has led to significant and ongoing damage to ecology and other (primarily agricultural) services on KI. Council spreads weeds (i.e. lost agricultural production and increased pests) all over the island, but it is illegal to remove them from the verge.

If road safety is used as the basis for region-wide changes to vegetation management, then there should be an independent assessment of the safety issues as well as an assessment of the effect of the management changes. Huge money could be saved just by not treating roadsides when there is no significant safety issue. This is never done. Roadside safety measures related to the management should be monitored, and improvements (or not) to safety assessed. Simple. Instead, nothing is assessed and safety issues are often raised by those with conflicted interests (often in agriculture).

In conclusion, I believe the new guidelines are biologically flawed and for KI, which still has some high quality roadside veg, will clearly bring very poor outcomes. I also sincerely believe these consultations will have no significant input into the guidelines and are performed to allow DEW to state they have “consulted widely”. Engage appropriate and leading scientists to drive management decisions about biological systems here, and generally. Make councils comply with their own plans. Or don’t bother with the guidelines at all.

Dr Richard Glatz
Principal Scientist, D’Estrees Entomology & Science Services
Visiting Research Fellow, University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food & Wine
Honourary Research Associate, South Australian Museum, Terrestrial Invertebrates

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Dr Richard Glatz

09 Jan 2019

Hi Richard, Thanks for taking the time to read and make comments on the Guidelines. The Native Vegetation Branch is now in the process of considering all comments, with the intention of making amendments to the Guidelines to better reflect the comments provided by all stakeholders. Further updates will be provided on our website.

Janine Mackintosh

31 Dec 2018

I have been very reluctant to waste my time commenting on YourSAy again given the ‘consultation’ regarding the sale or lease of 2.5km of Kangaroo Island’s Crown Conservation Coastal Reserve to a golf course developer. 775 written submissions were made against it – from individuals, community groups, organisations representing dozens, hundreds and even tens of thousands of people and many respected scientists and experts from around Australia. Only five submissions were in favour. Yet Minister Speirs not only gave the project the green light but then also made false claims that most people were in favour of his decision. Islanders who were against his decision were repetitively labelled as nimbys and those from elsewhere were told it didn’t concern them. So it is difficult to see this ‘consultation’ as anything other than a sham box-ticking exercise.
YET, as a Kangaroo Islander I’m also extremely disturbed by the rapid decline of our roadside vegetation, which is one of our most valuable unique assets. So I am very alarmed that these new Guidelines could further facilitate that decline when they “allow greater capacity for clearance… without requiring any approval.”
The tiny ratepayer base of Kangaroo Island means there is a severe lack of resources and therefore crude clearing techniques are used eg. trees are butchered with hydro-axes, and worse, the road verges are disturbed by graders and ‘groomers’, which results in the rapid infestation of weeds – and nothing is done to control them. The KI Council’s Roadside Management Plan states that a 10cm living verge is to be maintained but this is not the case in most instances. Many weeds are tall, dry, flammable grasses, others are a breeding ground for agricultural pests and diseases (eg. Lincoln Weed/Canola). The KI Council also regularly clears verges much wider than their Management Plan stipulates. One example: on the tiny unsealed track that runs past our Heritage property the Council drove its ‘groomer’ up onto the verge and graded the low tussocky native irises, churning up the plants and soil. This quickly resulted in declared Horehound weeds infesting a long stretch of the roadside (which we are lawfully required to remove at our own time and expense) and, as the land slopes, also resulted in runoff, creating a deep muddy boggy road surface, where residents eventually had to dig a drainage ditch. The Council also cleared the last of a patch of rare endemic EPBC-listed Kangaroo Island Pomaderris shrubs, which were causing no visibility/safety issues and were clearly marked on their Roadside Management Plan maps. When we met with the CEO of the KI Council on the side of the road he admitted he could not justify or defend the actions. But it seems he cannot stop it happening again and again. Many people are shocked to hear that we don’t have an Environmental Officer at the KI Council, again, lack of funds. And a lack of care? These new guidelines only encourage recklessness.
I believe the ‘safety’ campaign is not evidence based. If so, the solution to simply (and cheaply) lower the speed limits on unsealed roads and from dust until dawn would be implemented, as has been done elsewhere. My worst kangaroo accident occurred on the mainland, where there was no roadside vegetation to slow down the animal and it hit the car at top speed. On the island I am more concerned about animals where there are breaks in the vegetation, such as drainage lines, which they naturally use as it is easier than penetrating through the dense vegetation.
I believe the real pressure to clear comes from large-scale cropping companies with ever-larger machinery and farm networks. I don’t believe the economic interests of a few large loud businesses should be allowed to influence governments to implement techniques that have detrimental impacts on the long-term ecological health of the island or on other growth industries (eg. tourism). The complex ecosystem services that the vegetation provides must be recognised and valued by governments and the so-called ‘clean green’ farming sector.
Not every unsealed road or track needs to be accessed by multistorey livestock trucks and tourist coaches. A thorough consultation process should be undertaken (funds could be saved if not every road was treated the same, some have barely any traffic at all). If not, we will soon lose every one of our breathtaking arbored roads and wildflower corridors, which are adored by tourists and locals.
If anything, I believe the Guidelines for the management of roadside vegetation need to be strengthened AND enforced to protect out natural heritage. And a better funding model is desperately needed. A tiny ratepayer base cannot fund the responsible roadside vegetation management of an island 155km long. The ‘jewel in the crown’ of South Australia’s tourism is being rapidly eroded. It will soon be Little South Africa.

Deborah Sleeman

30 Dec 2018

The Interim Guidelines for the Management of Roadside Vegetation seem to be designed to increase the level of clearance of Native vegetation allowed without due regard to the benefits of that vegetation.

SA has one of the lowest levels of retention of Roadside vegetation. These recommendations are driven by economics with very little regard to the ecological benefits of roadside vegetation and to the differing levels of roadside vegetation coverage in the state.
They seem to be driven by
... ease and economy of clearance and maintenance by Local government
...Increased size of farm machinery and changing farming practices, particularly with regard to cropping.
...safety issues

I live on Kangaroo Island which has particular issues with regard to the above points

Kangaroo Island is not just a farming economy. It is also one of the major tourist destinations in Australia and the State Government is very keen to promote the Islands clean green image.
The local council cannot afford to maintain the roadsides to the standard that we have seen since legal action forced them to change their practices 20 years ago. Current practices are now resulting in a return to increased weeds, soil disturbance, and loss of visual amenity and biodiversity.
What we are promoting on one hand we are taking away with the other. One of the attractions of Kangaroo Island is its roadside corridors, it will be greatly diminished if these are compromised to the extent they are able to be with this legislation.

All roads are categorized on the Island to allow access to farms for large stockcrates and farm machinery. These are the roads that should be targeted and all others, especially as they are often less traveled and have more intact and often endemic native vegetation on them should be treated accordingly. There seems to be a great degree of latitude with regard to clearance on any roadside without due regard for what is actually there.

Safety; A lot has been said about being able to travel safely on country roads. We do not need to treat every road as if it is the same. In Tasmania there is an 80 km limit on ALL dirt roads and a 65km limit on all dirt roads between dusk and dawn. Local people learn where animal hotspots are and drive to the conditions. This kind of signage makes occasional users aware that wildlife is very active at night and they need to adjust their driving accordingly. It does not make sense to expect all roads to have a 100-110km limit.

Driving in the rest of South Australia one is struck by the conspicuous lack of roadside vegetation. I would have thought that the state would be doing all in its power to protect what remains, not making it easier for its removal.

We have lost sight of the inherent value of native vegetation in the argument for economic rationalism. In the light of what is happening on this planet at this point in time it is almost laughable that we still do not value our environment above everything else. It is the only one we have.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Deborah Sleeman

09 Jan 2019

Hi Deborah, Thank you for your contribution. The importance of roadside vegetation has not been lost on the Native Vegetation Branch, and as you mention, KI has some of the best in the state. Keeping this in mind whilst developing a state wide document is challenging, however, some of comments that we have received make important points that we will consider as we continue to develop the Guidelines.

Robert Hunt

29 Dec 2018

Roadside trees should be thought of as a danger to all traffic. Roadways are for vehicles of many sizes, therefore, trees or bushes where the trunk exceeds 70 mm in diameter, should be considered as dangerous obstacles. When these are intended to stay on to maturity, suitable traffic protection should be provided by guardrail . When these do not exceed the usual height, (the quard rail) trees and bushes should be trimmed behind the line of railing, frequently.
The above provision needs to be thought through, in terms of how far off road the guardrail location should be a maximum and minimum. Not all vehicles provide sufficient side protection for running into bushes any bigger than mention above.

Ron Taylor

27 Dec 2018

Roadside vegetation management has been a concern to me for as long as I have been involved with environmental management and biodiversity in general (28 years). The problem has not been the guidelines as much as it has been both individuals and authorities not adhering to the methodology and distances set out in the regulations. I live in one region and hold 400Ha of environmental State Heritage listed land in another region. I have been involved in surveying native vegetation on roadsides and have local permission to manage two lengthy sections of roadside adjacent to my heritage land. Over the last 28 years I have seen some very bad examples of removal of vegetation for both safety and access purposes. I have seen sizeable stretches of both sides of roads where front end loaders have been used to smash branches off trees and in many cases uproot the trees and leave them on the roadside verge and in the process bringing down private wire fences. I have seen flood prevention swales developed using the same methods and running huge quantities of roadside water with millions of weed seeds into neighboring land causing the owners year on year weed management issues. No account has been taken of high status conservation species during these methods of management. So my main problem with any new guidelines is who is going to ensure compliance, how and will our ultimate guardians (The Govt of SA) of our environment allow sufficient deterrents to be enforced. I have to admit that the perpetrators do not usually carry out these activities along high activity public roads and places - it is generally on back roads and road reserves which are generally out of the public eye and in many cases hold much more valuable and less degraded remnant vegetation.
I notice other comments about the clearance of vegetation for fencing purposes. This is a major issue where roads are resurfaced or realigned in some areas by external contractors who in some cases have totally removed good quality remnant vegetation and laid the roadside completely bare for new fences and will promote nothing more than new growth of whatever weeds they have brought in with their machinery or earthworks. I must add that allowing more discretion to those bodies which in some cases have been using extremely poor methods and working generally outside of the regulations does not enthuse me to support any watering down of the existing guidelines - not unless there are some very strong indications that compliance will be strengthened and above all enforced.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Ron Taylor

09 Jan 2019

Hi Ron, thanks for the comment. Ensuring compliance certainly has its challenges as proving a breach of the Act requires a good level of evidence. Although the Department has regional staff that do travel around regional areas, the DEW Compliance Unit predominately relies on the public to report potential illegal activities. What action is taken is then ultimately determined by the Compliance Unit.

The Barossa Council

21 Dec 2018

Thank you to the Native Vegetation Council with providing an opportunity to comment on the new Interim Guidelines for the Management of Roadside Vegetation.

Overall, while the Guidelines provide direction for councils, it is felt that there should be a discretionary approach, allowing for alternate solutions to the removal of native vegetation. Councils should still be held accountable for the removal of native vegetation.

The following commentary is provided in relation to specific sections of the document.

PART 1: Management of Roadside Vegetation

Operating Principles
• How are the operating principles to be enforced? Who is responsible for compliance, for example - equipment cleaning prior to moving etc.
• “Threatened plant species on roadsides will be mapped, where possible”. It is suggested that mapping is a MUST, rather than leaving it a discretionary requirement.

Section 1. Primary Clearance Envelopes
• In order to reduce unnecessary clearance, it is recommended that the wording “clearance is required” to be amended to “clearance may be permitted where other options are not available” or similar.

Section 3. Verge Clearance
• If Council is to have authority, how can it know the age (i.e. <20 years old) without engaging a specialist to undertake an assessment?
• The guidelines should state the removal of all introduced species.

PART 3: OTHER ACTIVITIES RELATING TO ROADSIDE VEGETATION

Section 6. Clearance for Fencelines
• Clearance around fence lines has always appeared to be generous. Up to five metres is a fair swathe of land (and subsequent loss of vegetation). Fortunately, council can dictate what happens on its (roadside) of the fence where often five metres means there may be no vegetation left if clearance proceeds. However as we can see in this new approach fencing can easily be designed to avoid clearance. In the first instance a design solution approach should be promoted in lieu of removal.

Janine Mackintosh > The Barossa Council

31 Dec 2018

Good grief! How refreshing! Perhaps you could come over and mentor the Kangaroo Island Council?

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > The Barossa Council

09 Jan 2019

Thanks for providing feedback. We will work through all the points raised as we review all comments and continue to develop the final Guidelines. Further updates will be provided on our website and to each local council as they become available.

Scott McDonald

21 Dec 2018

Kangaroo Island has the most intact and healthiest roadside vegetation in the State. It provides habitat for a great many protected and endangered plants, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Many of these plants only exist in the roadside vegetation....largely due to land clearance.
In the past the community has had to take legal action to force the local Council to change roadside clearance practices, and recently the Commissioner chaired a Local Advisory Group to investigate the need for clearance. I was a local rep on this LAG. It became clear that the main driver for further clearance is local government economics, the road safety concerns being largely debunked.
The new Guidelines will open the way to wider clearance than is currently possible (or necessary),, resulting in unnecessary disturbance of habitat, the loss of endangered species, the removal of understory, and the destruction of some of the natural beauty that is so attractive to our International visitors.
It is disappointing that a State Government should weaken the very laws that protect our remnant environment, especially given that the roadside corridors provide habitat for native animals, benefits for farmers, and slow-down strips which mitigate against wildfire.
This is negative engineering.

Garry Morrison

21 Dec 2018

In most cases the only native vegetation left is the road side verge. Making it easier to remove seems like a limited view on the desperate requirement for more native vegetation. I would like to see initiatives that increase native vegetation such as greater incentives for land holders to make a native vegetation buffer along boundaries and in gully regions to counter erosion and species extinction.

Bob Huxtable

20 Dec 2018

I have not had a chance to read the guidelines yet. Living on KI and being an active member of Eco-Action, I have seen many attempts to remove/reduce roadside veg by Council and landowners.
I commend to you a newsletter from Eco-Action, outlining the benefits of roadside vegetation and paddock trees. It can be found here, http://eco-action.com.au/newsletter/?ver=http://eco-action.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Newsletter5.pdf.
If you get comments along the lines of increasing accidents etc, it is not born out by the evidence. The Adelaide University's Centre for Automotive Safety Research produced a document, titled "In-depth research into rural road crashes". I can supply you with a copy if required.

Gail Stead

20 Dec 2018

With our every increasing traffic from outer suburbs travelling through residential streets, the high amount of pollutants and the heat from road surface increasing every day with the also predicted outlook for hotter dryer day/nights we need natives but we also need colour that not only attract insects that are profitable e.g. bees/birds to our gardens, but to let traffic know they are not on a speedway from A-B being inconsiderate of people living in these streets. We also need more rain type verges that collect and distribute water as we will not either have the residents (old & young) who will maintain and the water supply to keep these plants going. The problem we also face is the many Queensland Box trees that constantly drop dangerous elements on footpaths, and even though we want them gone we don’t want a wholesale chopping down of canopy tree’s, the other problem is the girth of these now 20+ year old trees can block sight along the roads travelled. I think we need to look at solutions that have worked in other residential areas that transpose to our individual streets, for example Leah Street Forestville which is a narrow street, has limited parking on one side and no stopping on other that is quite often ignored, there is small verge areas in some cases that will not fit a verge planting as well as bin storage for collection days. So real a collaboration and acknowledgement, agreement with residents and not a wholesale adoption is the solution.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch

20 Dec 2018

Thanks everyone for taking the time to make comment on the Interim Guidelines. Please keep an eye out on our website https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/topics/native-vegetation/consultation-under-way in the new year for updates on the Interim Guidelines upon consideration of all the comments submitted during the consultation period.

Rose Ashton

20 Dec 2018

What does 'within the primary envelope' mean? I am concerned that the interim guidelines weaken protection of native vegetation, some of which has conservation status. Councils sometimes damage native vegetation currently and do not protect vegetation that needs protection. I have seen council workers slash native grasses & ground covers, and leave the gazania plants! To extend the guidelines to 20-year-old vegetation may result in significant loss of threatened species. I am also concerned that before the new guidelines have been adopted, Councils can use them. This means some loss may have already occurred. It also shows a disregard of due process by the government.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Rose Ashton

20 Dec 2018

Hi Rose,
Thank you for your providing your concerns regarding the Guidelines. To answer your question, the primary envelope is considered the travelled way and the shoulder. A review of the descriptions to ensure their clarity will be undertaken prior to the finalising of the document.

Sebastian Tops

19 Dec 2018

Any vegetation that impedes any walkway, or road (width), also considering height clearances required for buses, trucks, or farming equipment, should be trimmed to allow clear walkways and road access at all times.
Possibly limit or even prevent future growth at the applicable height.
What is the use of a walkway, or a road where one has to walk on the road to pass a bush or a tree branch, or stop suddenly to let oncoming traffic through? Such branches pose inconvenience and danger.

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Sebastian Tops

20 Dec 2018

Thanks for your feedback Sebastian, we appreciate you taking the time to make comment.

Bruce Munday

19 Dec 2018

I support the general principle of simplifying the Guidelines (everyone would say that). But I question the wisdom of assuming that all local governments are equally competent and/or committed to valuing and protecting roadside veg. Some see roadside veg as an asset, some see it as a burden, some see it as the enemy. In my experience a few are exceptionally good (I can really only think of 1) while several are appalling. If the best could be used as role models to the others I would feel more confident. DPTI has come a long way (at least up to 2015 when I had a bit to do with them) and can be quite proud of what they have achieved for roadside veg in some areas. I would like to hope for the best rather than expect the worst from the proposed changes, but it won't happen without close monitoring and adequate resourcing (probably the last thing the government is contemplating).

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Bruce Munday

20 Dec 2018

Thanks for the feedback Bruce, you raise some important points that we will certainly consider as we work towards finalising the Guidelines.

Nada Clark

19 Dec 2018

Roadside reserves are for traffic human safety being the main concern

Government Agency

Native Vegetation Branch > Nada Clark

20 Dec 2018

Thanks for your feedback Nada.

June Edwards

19 Dec 2018

Roadside vegetation is often the only native vegetation left in a region and provides one of the few corridors for birds and wildlife. If the state and local governments and going to destroy these last vestiges which is what this review is all about then they need to provide funds to landholders who are willing to preserve existing native vegetation and to grow new vegetation. There needs to be a quid pro quo. Also the road vegetation does need to be properly assessed as some of it is extremely rare so you will be destroyers. It is often the only shade for sheep as well and as the temperatures rise these poor animals are having a rugged time with little shelter which is extremely cruel.

Michael Edwards

19 Dec 2018

Given the future climate outlook, i believe it is about time that our roadside vegetation should be fire retardant plants, in fact between residential zones and native vegetation we should have buffer zones of fire retardant plants, all roads that are considered as egress zones out of bushfire areas and those that lead to bushfire safer zones etc should also be planted with fire retardant plants. Roadside vegetation should be cut back if not fire retardant, maybe we could utilise fine defaulters or similar persons to assist

Kym McKay

19 Dec 2018

Thank goodness a Govt that will at least explore the matter, for too long this State has been micro managed by the green zealots.
Roadside vegetation debris need s to be cleaned up, overhanging and dangerous low hanging lumber need to be pruned, feral scrubby shrubs that obliterate vision at intersections needs to be cleared away.
The extra fuel load that the existing zealotry regulations allow contribute significantly to the Fire danger season, in normal circumstances Mother Nature with lighting would have burn offs to keep the balance, but man interferes 2 ways, we allow the build up, and then when a fire starts we put it out. So the best solution is to clear and Manage it like it was prior to SA Labor and The Greens highjacking of common sense controls all in the name of providing homes for the bugs on the roadside. Bring on the changes .

David Mussared

18 Dec 2018

This seems to be yet another incremental clawback of South Australia's once-proud native vegetation laws, allowing yet more loopholes for native vegetation to be cleared.

In the Adelaide Hills (and probably elsewhere), road verges are frequently the only remaining connections between fragmented patches of bushland, and often represent significant remnant fragments in their own right. These proposed changes appear to nibble away at existing protections for such areas, and legitimise the idea that by default all road verges need to be managed uniformly to the detriment of native vegetation.

Surely 'country lanes' and 'scenic roads' can be maintained in near-natural state, with perceived traffic hazards managed via speed restrictions and through traffic barriers / traffic slowing devices rather than destruction of vegetation. Surely we can do better than to sacrifice our remnant bushland patches on the altar of legalistic 'risk management'?

Just a few more slices in the death of 1,000 cuts.

Bruce Munday > David Mussared

19 Dec 2018

Agree. Are we to consider roadside veg as an asset or a liability? Not every country road needs to be accessible to B-doubles. Effectively widening these roads will simply encourage greater volumes of wider traffic demanding higher speed limits (and thus more clearance).

Scott McDonald > David Mussared

21 Dec 2018

Also agree.....KI Council appear to look solely at the economics of keeping the roadsides sufficiently clear...which tends to mean clearance to the boundaries.
The statistics available on road accidents on KI reveal that the vast majority are at least partly caused by speed....not by vegetation. There is a plan here to identify the roads which carry machinery and trucks...which is a positive move. But the new guidelines will still have significant impact on our roadside resource.

Chris Blaikie

12 Dec 2018

Another backwards move by South Australia. Our roadside remnant vegetation sites are in terrible condition and are routinely destroyed by spraying, ploughing, grading and road alterations (with no official decision making or consequences).
NRMs investigation of vegetation destruction is a joke. South Australia is crooked and backwards.

Chris Blaikie > Chris Blaikie

12 Dec 2018

I'd add that if you don't know what species are in your roadside that you want to destroy you are probably not qualified to be deciding its fate.