VicRoads has been cutting down thousands of large trees on the Princes Highway and nearby roads in Gippsland , citing “Safety.” Again, safety is important but it must be remembered that we share the planet with other species, and that we are all interdependent.
“Safety” does not mean either we keep roadside trees or we have safe roads. That is truly lazy thinking. We can have both. State Governments and VicRoads need to be prepared to consider the many alternatives available. Why are we bulldozing roadsides when nearby paddocks are already cleared of vegetation? Trees are important for (amongst others) carbon storage, water table, temperature and wind moderation, fauna shelter and breeding and trees improve conditions for pasture, crops and stock on nearby farms.
Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world: 30 native mammals have become extinct since European settlement. Globally that means 1 out of 3 mammal extinctions in the last 400 years have occurred in Australia. In terms of the vegetation being removed between Traralgon and Rosedale, this is what VicRoads has destroyed: one of the last remaining stands of Gippsland Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis subsp. mediana). Together with Grassy Woodland and Associated Native Grassland, they constitute a threatened ecological community listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)—Australia’s national environment law.
But that’s all acceptable apparently – all VicRoads had to do was to get “permission.” And they did. It was as easy as that.
Thanks to Sue and Maurice for the photos of recent tree demolition between Traralgon and Rosedale. This area was once thickly vegetated. Sue and Maurice have written to the Roads Minister, Luke Donnellan, but he did not reply.