Moyne Shire Council will put its budget surplus of $380,000 towards reducing roadside vegetation coming into the summer fire season.
Councillor Daniel Meade put forward a notice of motion at Tuesday’s monthly meeting in Morltake, and was unanimously supported by his fellow councillors.
His motion was: “That council approve a budget variation of $380,000 for roadside vegetation reductions in order to reduce fire fuel risk ahead of the upcoming season”.
Mr Meade said he was pleased the motion passed, and would now help to ensure the community’s safety.
In March the devastating St Patrick’s Day bush fires tore through the region, and a large part of the Moyne Shire was affected at Hawkesdale, Gazette, Garvoc and The Sisters.
Mr Meade said at the time of the fires the shire allocated its budget surplus of $380,000 to fire recovery, however that cash was not required as the state government helped with recovery.
“We allocated it all to the fires,” he said.
“We didn’t need to use it, so we’ve allocated it to fire prevention.
“That’s a fair whack I reckon.”
Mr Meade said the cash would go towards reducing fire risks.
“It will concentrate on roadside fuel reduction and fire reduction,” he said.
“It will target areas of high risk around the shire.”
He said the council had worked with the Country Fire Authority to identify those areas which were considered ‘high risk’.
“It’s in conjunction with our own road inspector,” he said.
“Safety for me is number one for our roadsides.”
He said the Hopkins-Curdies fire group had written to the Moyne Shire after the St Patrick’s Day bush fires and asked the council to do more with overgrown roadside vegetation.
He said the cash boost was a substantial amount.
“$380,000 goes a long way to put in more resources before the upcoming fire season,” he said.
“We have a lot of kilometers in our shire.
“Part of the money we have allocated could go towards extra machinery that can be used every year, not just as a one off.”
In April Mr Meade said the St Patrick’s Day bush fires had wreaked havoc across the shire.
"They hit the roadside reserves and they fired up again and were able to go onto the next property," he said.
"They can be untidy and unkempt.”