How wide can a fire-break be in Queensland?
Getting the answer wrong, despite receiving conflicting advice from several different Queensland Government staff, has just resulted in a Queensland landowner being forced to pay $999,780 in fines and costs.
That figure – a record since Queensland’s Vegetation Management Act came into effect in 1999 – incorporates a $276,000 fine and an order to pay the Government $723, 780 in costs.
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In the wake of the severe punishment, which has left the landowner devastated according to his legal team, landowners seeking to undertake future clearing works in areas containing native vegetation, even if for a firebreak, fenceline or road, are being urged to urgently seek legal advice before starting.
Michael Vincent Baker of Chess Park, Eidsvold, was this week found guilty in the Brisbane Magistrate Court of the unauthorised clearing of 367.5 hectares of native vegetation.
Mr Baker was found guilty of 39 charges under the Vegetation Management Act and 7 charges under the Forestry Act relating to the width of clearing associated with firebreaks, fence lines and access tracks on his property, and also failing to comply with the self-assessable code for Native Forest Practice.
Read more: How wide can a fire break be in Qld? Work on 10 metres, says DNRM
Magistrate Elizabeth Hall of the Brisbane Magistrates Court fined Mr Baker $276,000 for the 46 offences under the Vegetation and Forestry Act.
She also ordered restitution for loss of forestry products of $17,471.
In addition, she ordered Mr Baker to pay $165,000 and $541,309.15 of costs incurred by the Department in investigating and prosecuting him.
The total costs incurred by the Queensland Government in pursuing this prosecution, as disclosed to the court, were $2.2 million.
Mr Baker’s lawyer Tom Marland from Marland Law, Roma, said Mr Baker has previously filed an appeal to the District Court based on Magistrate Hall’s decision and will appeal the costs and sentence imposed as part of those appeal proceedings.
Lack of clarity over allowable fire-break widths:
Mr Marland has previously indicated that before Mr Baker commenced the clearing in question, he contacted 32 different Government employees seeking advice on the acceptable width of fire breaks.
He said he received conflicting advice ranging from 1.5 metres wide to “1.5 times the height of the tallest tree”.
The Vegetation Management Act (VMA) provided an exemption for clearing remnant vegetation if the clearing was to establish a fire break, and provided the break was “no more than 20 metres wide or 1.5 times the height of the nearest vegetation”.
The Act also allowed for “the clearing necessary” to remove or reduce the imminent risk that the vegetation poses of serious personal injury or damage to infrastructure.
Mr Baker was motivated to construct effective fire breaks because his 9242 hectare property Chess Park was almost totally burnt out by bushfire soon after he bought the property in May 2011.
The fires caused $300,000 worth of damage to property infrastructure. After that event, Mr Baker was determined to construct fire breaks to protect his family, property and livestock from future fires.
He said Mr Baker applied the advice of “1.5 times the tallest tree” in determining the width of his fire breaks – narrower firebreaks would provide no protection if a burning tree fell across the break and continued the fire on the other side.
With trees measuring between 18 and 32 metres, an average of 25 metres was applied, resulting in fire break widths of 40 metres.
Mr Baker advised the Department of his plan and his intention to commence the work.
However, some two years after the work began, he was advised by the Department that his fire breaks were too wide, and legal action followed.
The result was Magistrate Hall’s decision in the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court this week.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines statement:
This is the full media statement released by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines this morning:
Huge fine for illegal vegetation clearing
23 March 2017
A Queensland landowner has been required to pay nearly $1 million for illegally clearing native remnant vegetation at a property near Eidsvold in the North Burnett region.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines Director-General James Purtill said Mr Michael Vincent Baker had been found guilty of a total of 46 offences and ordered by the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday to pay $999,780, including costs.
“The fine handed down reflects the significant extent of the illegal clearing and Mr Baker’s deliberate actions despite direct warnings given to him by the department,” Mr Purtill said.
“Mr Baker contacted the department in 2011 to seek advice about managing vegetation on his property, but continued to illegally clear vegetation without a permit despite being given clear information about his responsibilities.
“Mr Baker cleared more than 350 hectares of native vegetation between May 2011 and March 2014 and was found guilty of 39 offences under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 and seven offences under the Forestry Act 1959.
“Queensland strikes a balance between enabling landowners to get on with managing their businesses by sensibly clearing appropriate vegetation, and protecting our environment.
“Our self-assessable codes enable landholders to undertake a range of vegetation management activities without needing to apply for a permit, but the rules are in place to protect valuable ecosystems and reduce sediment run-off.
“The department is committed to working with landholders to help them understand their responsibilities.
“In addition to on-ground inspections, the department uses satellite technology to quickly detect changes in vegetation cover across Queensland, enabling us to make early contact with landholders if it appears they’re doing the wrong thing.
“This ensures we can contact landholders before inappropriate clearing becomes widespread, but it is important that landholders work with us and abide by the rules in place,” Mr Purtill said.
For further information contact Department of Natural Resources and Mines Media Services firstname.lastname@example.org
More questions of interest:
How wide can a fire break in Queensland actually be – does the NRM have a clear answer on this?
Beef Central has put that question to the NRM earlier today and was waiting for a response at the time of publishing this story. We will publish the NRM’s answer when it is received.
Did Mr Baker require a clearing permit? The NRM’s statement said Mr Baker “illegally cleared without a permit”. However, Mr Marland said Mr Baker did not require a permit as he was clearing under an exemption or self-assessable code.
The 367ha involved represents about 4 percent of the total property area of 9242ha. Was that all for fire breaks? Mr Marland said about 200ha was for fire breaks, about 100ha was for fence line maintenance and 50ha for native forest practice.
How much of the 9242ha property is marked as area that should not be cleared (or blue on his property map)? About 40pc of the total property area is marked blue for remnant. The 9242ha property comprises 8000 hectares of freehold, and also has 1029ha state forest in the middle and a former forestry entitlement area of 213 hectares that is now freehold. There is also a 40 metre wide, 9.3 kilometre long gas pipeline through the middle of the property.
The fine and costs order is the largest handed down since the Vegetation Management Act was enacted in 1999.
Mr Marland said the case and fine was significant when compared to similar prospection for the clearing of native vegetation.
A recent District Court of Appeal decision handed down on 21 April 2016, in relation to a St George grazier who cleared 1819 hectares of remnant vegetation, was originally fined $118,000 and ordered to pay $14,549 investigation costs and $9,274.03 in legal costs.
This was reduced on appeal to $40,000.
In an earlier 2011 District Court decision, in relation to a Wyandra grazier who cleared 1300 hectares, was originally fined $100,000, which was reduced to $30,000 on appeal.
Mr Marland said the decision has been “devastating” for Mr Baker.
“The matter is currently before appeal so I can’t make too much comment about the decision other than to say we are very disappointed” said Mr Marland.
“In relation to inaccurate media reports that Mr Baker was fined “$1 million”- the fine was $276,000 and the prosecutions legal and investigation costs were $706,309, which is three times the fine.”
The overall costs of the prosecution as disclosed to the court were $2.2 million.
“This matter is of significant importance, obviously for Mr Baker, but also all landholders throughout Queensland in relation to what they can and can’t do on their properties.
Anyone wanting to undertake clearing works in areas containing native vegetation, even if for a firebreak, fenceline or road, should seek legal advice prior to undertaking those works,” Mr Marland said.
I think the Labour Govenment needs to go.
No longer just ‘droughts and flooding rains’. Now its ‘torts and insurance claims’. Honestly – who’d be a farmer?
The ten dollar note says “No foe shall gather our harvest or sit on our stockyard rail”. Tell me the foe isn’t lawyers and government bureaucrats?
And another one of the excuses, I heard, was that the firebreak width was considered a sort of ‘climate-change’ issue. Trees, the bureaucrats now admit, breath and cleanse our air but only if it’s so they can fine you for cutting down too many, to prevent fires.
This is all wrong and this poor poor chap should be recompensed.
What a lot crap thank Christ I am still not farming we cleared along our 10 km of fencing every 10 years to stop trees falling on fences we burnt fire breaks every 5 years we would be locked up now my father would turn in his grave now if he could see these new rules
My thoughts are that if an authoritive body has jurisdiction over any portion of a landholders land, then that body should be 1. Responsible for the maintenance of that portion or portions of land, 2. Indemnify the landholder from any risk and or damage resulting from an event involving that land, 3. Compensate the landholder for any taxes, fees or charges incurred by that portion of land, and 4. Exempt that portion of land from the rateable value, in this case 40%.
It’s very simple. To meet the emissions target for the Paris Agreement the PM initiated a $2bil fund. Of course they cannot shut down the coal industry, nor can they recall all the petrol driven cars, so they fake the emissions target by registering large tracts of land as saving the planet by citing the trees as ingesting the naughty Co2. Check the official website of the regulator — that’s how 80% of the target was achieved. The climate change lobby doesn’t want to reduce anything. They just want a price on carbon so their friends on Wall St can make billions — and we pay. Its a scam folks!
As soon as insurance companies start to take councils and the Green Party to court for not letting land owners protect their property, dwellings and livestock nothing will change, they will blame it all on climate change.
Feel gutted for this guy. Judicial system now full of lefties who crush people trying to earn a living and show leniency to scumbags. Hopefully he will get a judge with isn’t a moron next time.
Now we see why there has been so much devastation this season. This is why we believe that the state government, local councils and the green agenda is the real reason for the massive fires. It has nothing to do with federal government and everything to do with state government. Palachook wake your ideas up, take control and overturn these murderous regulations.
I thought that our fathers and grandfathers fought in the first and second world wars to stop fascism or any form of dictatorship but apparently it was in vain as we now have a dictatorship in this country. Time to express our concerns
Sadly, how many deaths around Australia due to this year’s fire season (26+) . It would seem state govts WANT the innocent to die from fires including – Billions of animals killed, destroyed homes and a massive hit on climate affecting the world. Magistrate Elizabeth Hall of the Brisbane Magistrates Court probable never set foot outside of city living – and has no idea about what affects a fire has on a ‘real-world’ community. She s#cks. PLEASE SUPPORT Michael Vincent Baker as the appeal June this year was also LOST 🙁
Really unbelievable- people in NSW and Vic are trying to save their lives and property while bushfire surrounds them and you fine someone for trying to protect themselves against this maybe happening to them. Don’t know who’s responsible for the ridiculous fine but how will they feel if this persons property and others like it go up in flames. I’d like some of the money we have all donated to the fire relief to go to this property owner to assist him in paying the fine. There needs to be a better resolution on what property owners can do to safeguard their lives /livelihood.
If the “government sponsored Electricity Supplier” decides to run power lines through your property how much land is cleared for “safety” and who decides?
In light of what is happening south , this is probably not a good result.
The LAW must want the whole of Australia to burn to a crisp.
Then we can import everything as nothing will be left in our GREAT LAND. Yes, not even water.
This is so wrong, so they spend $2.2 million of tax payers money to get a land owner a $276,000 fine for wanting to protect his family and land. Don’t these clowns see what is happening in NSW.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, there must be something in the air conditioning, that’s screwed with their common sense, it’s the only explanation, and this while the rest of Australia burns!
How can 40 metres be too much to clear for a fire break?? Surely the fires Australia is experiencing at the moment are a clear indication that land that is not kept clear of excessive underbrush (lovely fuel for a wildfire) needs a decent sized firebreak!!
Quite frankly, we need to revert to the former practice of doing ‘cool burns’ to keep excessive underbrush growth and dead trees/branches etc from sitting around and providing fuel should fire break out!!
Make your non negotiable cheque to the RFS stuff the bureaucracy!
Bit more to it than that, but why let facts cloud opinion>
I am not a land holder but if your National Cattle Industry doesnt get involved at the Federal level to get this conviction quashed then, given the current drought and bushfires, bank fraud etc etc , the lot of you might as well sell out now (to the chinese that is)
That poor person and bloody greens he just was protecting his family and land the sooner that people stop listening to greens the better off we all will be
I think this is outrageous. This judge and the lawyers for this case should visit some of the victims of the recent fires who have lost family and property and tell them “the law says a good fire break can not be constructed to save them because trees are more important”. This judge and the lawyers do not live in the real world, only in an air-conditioned office, they should put out in the fire line and watch homes burn in reality, not just on television.
Good fire breaks created and maintained before the fire event and back burning from this could have prevented a lot of this loss. I have been a Rural Fire Brigade Member for 50 years and know how important it is to have a wide fire break and the rule of 1.5 times the average tree height still will not be enough in some fires. A few trees lost to make a fire break is nothing compared to loss of life and property and animals and the millions of trees that will die from the fire.
If the Judge is worried about climate change, these recent fires will cause more much climate change than clearing a few trees to construct a fire break.
In the current climate, this appears to be vastly unfair. I hope he gets a fair hearing in the appeal.
Shame on our Government for not putting safety before trees. They need to also seek the advise of our Aboriginal countrymen about when and how to reduction burning as they have done it properly for thousands of years without a problem to the environment including animals.
He should be PAID a million dollars for potentially saving millions of dollars in fire fighting resources in a bush fire.
Given the fires raging around Australia the fine is excessive.
Many years ago I asked for advise on the proposed new road in front of my property. The only response 2 years later was prosecution for failing to provide an industrial entry to an unknown property line.
They collect their pay every fortnight whether they do anything or not.
This is but one example of how red tape is ruining our economy. This poor guy tried to make a decision and couldn’t get a definitive answer. So he tried to go ahead with the information he believed to be correct. Then he was put to the sword by the very department he sought advice from. How can anybody now have confidence when dealing with any government department. I know as a fisherman, I can no longer develop my business as we were once able to. The beaurocrats have too much control over management. I don’t have enough confidence in the way they do things, to invest further.
Australia is burning and this poor bloke gets kicked in the ass for putting in a fire break that is a bit too wide. WTF
So our state government spent 2.2 million dollars prosecuting this farmer, when he was trying to give his property half a chance if the same sort of fires happening down south came roaring towards him. Shame shame shame.
The law is an ass and I would clear my l and regardless and would not pay the fine.Australians need to stand up for themselves and stop being dictated to by morons.
I would bet right now every town and farm in NSW, SA and Victoria would have to have loved a fire break of 40 metres. It makes rulings like this seem so foolish. The Federal Government and State Governments will be paying millions to repair and rebuild infer structure. Scott Morrison to to day announced $2 billion for a national bushfire recovery scheme.
So what do we do in Queensland is to fine people for doing common sense activities to prevent bushfires from causing damage.
Looks like this fellow was bamboozeld by five different variations of red tape
Beats me how 40mtrs was cleared to put a gas pipe thru the property
I am aware of this case or one very similar, in NSW.
Recent fire devastation should result in fire breaks that wide around all propert boundaries of say 1000 hectares,
And hopefully , abundant compensation for farmers like Mr Baker who stood by their knowlede and principles to their own demise..
All be it , the ones in his situation who have not comitted suicide or killed inspectors during the process .
Michael Baker ,tell the court to show you where they can override the 1901 Constitution, the highest law in the land ,they have no power over you or your land ,free hold or called fee simple ,they are conning you pal ,no one can make a ruling if it conflict’s with the 1901 , give them the FLICK ! ,Bud
I live in California and saw this. In my state we have many large landowners who were farmers, foresters, miners, ranchers, etc. all for multiple generations. And they maintained their land and wildlife the best because they lived there and saw the results of actions. Then our state went “liberal” with the city people dictating what was best. From hunting to logging to land management. Now our wildlife numbers are down and since this article was published we have multiple entire cities destroyed by fire. Not the homes – the homes, the schools, the hospitals, the hotels, everything gone. More than one. Never happened before. Any question on who should make rural decisions? Unfortunately we have not learned. Hopefully Australia can.
How bloody ridiculous can these petty demagogues and we-be beaurocrats get? Look at the current bushfire scenario and tell us he was wrong. They should be ostracised for being worse than stupid.
Words utterly fail me.
What a damn joke shows how our courts and government offices are run by idiots in large cities with experts who work from an air conditioned office without any real experience. As for the investigation and fines from the department of mines and natural resources i have multiple connections with people who work for them in far North Queensland who get told how to do their job by a pack of mongrelised idiotic greenies who believe that they can make accurate and useful decision from an office in Brisbane which is how many thousands of kilometres away, just sheer abject stupidity. A final note to the idiots who are bound to say he was damaging the environment and destroying large areas of native habitat just think about the amount of land behind the firebreaks that was protected from being turned to charcoal also near in mind that aside from protecting his land he was also protecting the most important thing his family
This poor farmer and any others who have been fined should all have their money returned to them. We really are being governed by fools.
A million dollar fine for protecting your family and assets. What is happening to Australia? If we had fire breaks on the NSW south coast, how many lives would have been saved? How many properties would have been saved?
What absolute rubbish.. How many of these decision makers have actually been through a catastrophic fire season like we are currently experiencing .. In the frontline of the devastation? Are they to leave native vegetation for a Bushfire to burn? And destroy their property again?
You only have to look at the huge numbers of homes and structures, crops & animals destroyed already to this current time.
And I feel for the landowner.. how many people in how many departments do you have to speak to and get information from to make your decision and despite your efforts to get a definitive answer, the department and it’s employees are ‘Not in the wrong’ for their misinformation ??
The landowner can only work with the information he is given..
And just as a question.. if the landowner had not cleared enough of a firebreak, and a bushfire came through.. how much responsibility will this government department take for their incorrect information.. would they contribute to the rebuilding? I think not!!
Wrong, wrong, wrong on every level!
This is an absolute joke you are joking are you not this poor Blake‘s trying to put in fire breaks oh my god this is what’s wrong with this country and this is why our whole country is on fire if you cannot see that we need fire breaks around every single place it Hass to be a joke oh my god this is ridiculous disgusting
Total destruction has occurred in some many towns all because total wankers run our governments and councils. Perhaps all of you should be held responsible for the lot!
It seems to me that the magistrate may not have been far out of town to have such a indifferent attitude to the problems encountered by our farmers. Stuff her.
This is utterly disgusting behaviour by our so called Government.
Surely a fire break would be the RESPONSIBLE thing to do given the threat.
Where is the acknowledgment and respect for this man?
We have to start taking measures to STOP aggressive fires from spreading across our lands.
This Government has no idea what It is doing.
Maybe a lesson in land from our Indigenous people wouldn’t go astray.
This is unbelievable!! What is this uninformed judge thinking? This poor,struggling farmer has done the right thing given the out of control fires in QLD. Not surprising given Palasczuk is refusing to pay volunteer firefighters. She can’t even pronounce her own Ukranian name !!!!!
Does a 🔥 seek legal advice before devastating someone’s lives
I ask you that to all the authorities and magistrates and where are you all when the fire 🔥 is threatening
It is clear the Government is all about money, they have no experience yet make decisions that effect people’s lives daily.
This is a farmer who’s best interests are farming and keeping the animals alive yet now faced with a fine he will not have that money to re invest into his farm, the government will loose more on taxing him overall
A great example of dumb public servants and an an even dumber judge
No common sense to be be here. Move on
Where are the farmers representation like NFF and Agforce ?
FIRE BREAKS MUST BE WIDE ,room for passing vehicles/fallen trees/room for turning ,also an attempt to keep embers from catching onto nearby trees &vegetation. Qld GOV. you need to look at the devastation to many forests -caused by poor firebreaks etc. also loss of LIFE due to non passable tracks , Fire trucks having to drive through infernos ,because no where to turn around.It may be great to have national forests ,but not at the cost of life and total loss of forests due to poor & dangerous management.
So if this person got fined heavy, that means we as the community and owners of our land can sue the government for not allowing back burning etc. Also is the all departments in this story going to to be accountable when a fire breaks out and destroy his property. Stay waking up you wankers in all departments of the .
Political garbage they are trying to regenerate money for their own profits. Should relocate and let the property burn and sue the government for the lack of firebreaks on the property which were not allowed to establish for the family safety remind the highly paid morons about OHS and a duty of care to the constituents in their area
We in WA have a similar problem, legislation does not set out a width, various acts give some distances from building and infrastructure. When I Approached the EPA and inquired I asked about the tallest tree method and was flatly refused although it is not in the act. On a fence line I used a width of 20 metres and it was accepted though it is not enough for a Fire break. Hypothetically in WA bush can be cut into 1 hectare lots as the act states a fire break/walk trail/fence line can be put every 100 metres apart. without a permit. Government should be clear on their requirements so as to not create confusion in their own advisory staff so the end user can feel safe in their directions to clear…
I understand government departments can be sued for damages for damages they cause. Fire fighters should do a class action against those government departments that implement those constraining firebreak rules that would not stand the test of fit for purpose. Should councils be sued by loved ones trapped by fires for not clearing road reserves of trees falling across roads during these fires? Lastly, should judges (and magistrates) loose their exemption from being sued for damages for failing to properly consider cases before them, did the magistrate ask the question “Does the law requirement relied on to prosecute pass the test of common sense”? Their judgements do dictate what is accepted and what is not to the common person who does not have the funds to elevate these decisions to higher courts.
Not fair not fair at all
When are we going to the basic slow winter burns ahd fire breaks . It’s that simple but Politicians and Greenies dont t
How disgusting pursuing this man given the current climate for catastrophic fire events as well as his pro action from his personal experience with mentioned fires clearly the government here is cash grabbing when they should be giving medals the bumbling fools running this country should be lynched
You should be reviewing this act based on the facts that are happening now in you country. This man dose not deserve his fines he is the only one there with ‘ common sense’
Disgraceful! Reading this story the department is at fault. Seems the information the farmer received was contradictory and misleading.
Isn’t this the property that has a gas pipeline easement through it and from reading an article back away that the pipeline cleared easement is 40metres wide, I stand to be be corrected .
Under the Australian Constitution 1901 it state that you can clear every tree on your property without permission from any government department.
And the farmer around Charlieville in Qld who was fined by the Qld Government for cutting Mulga to fed his starving livestock is well within his right to cut the mulga for the above mentioned purpose.
If I were those farmers I would fight these fines under the Australian Constitution of 1901.
I believe the owner was totally correct. By taking preventive action againest the threat of wild fires.
There are people that have a uni degree but know nothing about the real life.
Magistrate Elizabeth Hall is so out of touch with reality !
Totally mad, these stupid decisions by Qld government is one of the major reasons bush fires are difficulty to control.
the Judge should . supply speed cameras on fire breaks so the fire services do not speed and she would have more money sit on her fat bum
And yet government will give developers the go ahead to clear hectares of native bush and koala habitat. Can’t tell me there is no corruption in our government. Go after the little people like the bullies they are. They are not there for us the people that’s for sure. We so need a different way of doing things in this country.
This fine is 3 x the damage that was done to his property in the 2011 fires. But at least he believes he is safe.
This is disgraceful. Fire kills as was seen in NSW – 6 dead. Eidsvold is dangerous bushfire country you only need to visit the museum to know it’s history. This man did the right thing – the department refused to even help him determine what was the correct amount to clear. It’s the department’s fault not his. The costs are on the department not him. You should have done the leg work before he cleared when he asked you to come out – not afterwards. Then you could have charged him a set fee.
Not a BS fee to calculate how much he overcleared.
This is the departments fault for being lazy not the Farmers fault.
He did the right thing- he just miscalculated- after you gave him the formula- how about you give him a google earth map and let him know what he can and can’t clear etc and the formula or more information on the penalties etc.
clearly the Department didn’t do enough.
As per usual.
If this fire break is left alone, in less time than you know it will be overgrown and in just a few years will return to its original state.
And can again become fuel for fires to risk the lives of our farmers, livestock and wildlife.
We in NZ have the same problem people sitting at their desk with no common sense making these decisions which are over the top. Its time some of these people were made to help the fire fighters on the coal front to see what a real fire is like. Australian vegetation is so different and fire breaks should be in place and kept maintained over all the fire prone country. This would save thousands from having fight wild fires. Bring on our elections so we can get these silly ideas overturned, and we can get back into mining and make NZ a great place to live in. Our Australian neighbours need to get rid of their Beauracrates with their green views.
Seems to me that this is just madness when one deals with Government staff. Surely there needs to be clear guidelines. He should not have to pay one cent.
This is outrageous. It is enough to make you cry. Now they’re using his money to pay firefighters to put out fires that could have been prevented. You couldn’t make it up. Stephen King and John Cleese couldn’t make up stories like this.
Are the city people in Queensland totally stupid that when a farmer makes a decent fire break he gets fined. Next time there is a fire I hope when a fire breaks out it misses the man’s land and burns some government assets then they may realise what a good fire break can do to save properties
This is why I will vote for another government. Commonsense is out the window. Assess each person on a rational basis and then decider what is the best outcome for all considered. The cost involved by the farmer to do this, to achieve an outcome that could save property and lives. It is ludicrous to think that by fining this farmer it is solving any problems. I hope the appeal is successful. Good luck and don’t give up the fight.
I believe that it a gross in justice it time as a proud Queenslander we should get behind these these everyday people and stop this rot .please remember this at the next election .people have the right to protect them selves and property because these idiots have no chance .its all about total control
How The Hell, Can A Fire-Break Be Too Bloody Wide ?
One Would Think, The Wider – The Better !….
Are These ‘Rule Makers’ Retarded ? – Or Just Finding More
Ways, To Line Their Pockets ???
Private land and how wide is the break meant to be when the owner followed the guide lines given to him. What width of fire break is needed to stop cambers in high winds Thousands of embers will be blown violently into and around bush fires, causing other fires to start and spread quickly up to 10km ahead of the main fire with rates of spread up to 5km an hour.
This fine is totally wrong when a man needs to use his head not some law to save his property. He is also allowing an area for two way traffic in case of a major fire event not used as a source of court revenue gathering.
At least in Russia, when they wanted to be rid of the farmers, they were just taken away and shot.
In the wake of our devastating fires which are still not extinguished, surely these fines will be reversed and the 2017 legislation ended!
Fires have no mercy
Seem like..humans have no common sense or
This is disgraceful. He should not be charged. He made all the necessary inquiries & told them what he was doing. 2 yrs later they decide he was wrong!!!! At least he made firebrand which govt & councils didn’t. How dare they prosecute him!!!
This just shows how inept and out of touch this government is . I think it comes back to the old saying that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing , seeing that they gave this landowner a formula to calculate fire breaks and he did it how they said but now it’s wrong …. go figure ??
And if you look at the fine I find it hard to believe that the it’s not about the land but more about putting money in the government coffers oh and of course the government lawyers pockets .
Hopefully sanity will prevail but as we have seen in the being sane doesn’t have a place in this governments day to day running of this state .
I would not pay the fine.look at the severity off fire impact to homes and life . The greens have a lot to answer for and the courts have a lot to answer for.
Now just how wide was the clearing for the gas pipeline? And how wide are the clearing for electricity transmission lines? Being a rural firefighter I am glad he cleared fire breaks that are defendable, I would just love to get those government pen pushers out on some of their so called fire breaks trying to defend them with a full blown bush fire comming at them, the sound of it is just like a jet plane taking off, its bloody frightening.
According to advice from WA volunteer fire officers, fire breaks are not intended to stop the spread of fires but are to allow ready access to fire fighters. So – fire breaks need to be only wide enough for (say) a fire truck to pass through. A bush fire could easily jump across Mr. Baker’s “fire breaks”.
As stupid as this sounds to be it could get worse ! When you have bureaucrats tring to tell the ranchers how to work or protect thier property!
Mr Baker, please contact Shine Lawyers, as I’m sure they’d find your case Very Interesting, and I hope, that they can fix this FARCE for you..
My 4000 acres freehold, Has state Forest on 3 sides, Very badly managed state forest….. They dont manage their side of the fence at all… I had 2800 acres burn out in 2018. And still im only allowed 5 meter wide fire breaks …. Does wonders when most of the trees are 20 plus meters high… And someone decided my entire property is Remnant Vegetation , Even though the property has been cleared. Now i cant touch anything… Yay QLD government.
This decision is ridiculous.
It is HIS land, he OWNS it – he can do whatever he wants to do on HIS land!!!!
If I was in his position I’d like to see ANYONE tell me what to do on MY land.
I’d say BRING IT ON !!!!
B.A Litt.B LL.B GDLT.
What a joke, these poor people!
Lets call for a merge of all councils to be merged into state Government – this way they can be made accountable for these stupid decisons!
My opinion is that if he got all this conflicting information from the land office and I imagine He would have had it in writing then why is he being fined for a blunder someone else a government employee maybe next time someone’s house burns down because of some idiot then the government body should pay for all cost. Maybe all these large property owners should get together and tell them to get stuffed this is the same bullshit that’s going on with the Murray,/Darling river water wastage water going out to sea and farmers can’t access the water all these Green turds should be lined up against a wall and shot.
If you can clear 1.5 times the height of the tallest tree which states was 32 mtrs he should be able to clear 48 mtrs wide and break was 40 mtrs he is innocent something wrong with this he should have been compensated instead
What was the outcome?
There is a conspiracy to bankrupt Australian farmers so it’s put on the international real estate market!
In November 2016, Michael Vincent Baker of Eidsvold was found guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for a number of offences under the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld) and Forestry Act 1959 (Qld). He was fined $276,000 and was ordered to pay more than $720,000 dollars in prosecution and investigation costs. Mr Baker cleared around 350 hectares of land between May 2011 and March 2014, which he argued, was a fire break allowed under the self-assessable codes.
Mr Baker had contacted the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy about his activities but continued to illegally clear vegetation without a permit, despite being given information about his obligations. This case demonstrates the importance of ensuring compliance with the legislation.
This was article is from 2017. I would love to know how his property has faired with the 2019 fires.
I would imagine that in the time since the clearing, the area would be overgrown almost back to what is was before the clearing, Creating as much a fire hazard as before, risking life, livestock and wildlife
How can they charge him all this and yet the people that have started some of these fires doesnt get charged this much. And people have lost homes and not to mention wildlife have lost their life because stupid person deliberatley started the fire. Who is helping these poor poeple get their lives back on track. Not the people who lit the fires in the first place. They should be made to pay these people as well as helping them rebuild them etc. The law is a joke.
Follow the money trail !
Where’s The Fine Money Going / Gone ?
With the farmer being punished unjustly, we should either get Federal MPs to step in to overrule this, or set up a GoFundMe, and raise money for this farmer, to cover his costs. We need to help this guy and make a stand.
All I can say is: We are being ruled by FOOLS!
Can any intelligent person with an ounce of commonsense make any sense out of this communistic behaviour. Crucifying this beautiful country & the genuine Australian loving people struggling to keep food on our table
Sorry, communist behaviour? Can you please elaborate.
Absolutely crazy. As if the farmers aren’t suffering enough.
No wonder we have fire burning all over Queensland.
Who could understand which of these stupid rules apply in that situation? The farmer was obviously trying to do the right thing.
Soon we won’t have any farmers to grow our hitherto cleanest food in the world. It won’t be long before we are importing our food from Asia instead of us helping to feed them.
for gods sake stop trying to destroy our farmers you are killing our country
What utter bs
While local councils can remove 13 established trees in a small area of about 30 meters square so that an existing road can be widened
Typical FAPS result. It is about time that it was actively published that devastating fires are ALWAYS the RESULT of excessive ground litter. Without excessive (several years worth) ground litter, the fires would NOT have been able to “sweat” and igniter the upper branches, resulting in a devastating wild fire. And I know EXACTLY the rabid City Based Greenies will froth at the mouth about the above.
In light of the devastating fires that are still burning does this judge have any idea what she has caused this man and his family not to mention the ridiculous rules the department made up. Clearly common sense is a rarity in those parts and human life is not a consideration. I am well and truly disgusted and our lives and our world is going down the toilet. Every single politician and legal person should be sacked on the spot they clearly have no consideration for others only themselves. Yet again majorly disgusted. 😡
For goodness sake this fellow should have got In writing the opinions if all Govt Dept to show the B.S that exists in our protected public servants
Totally agree so where has common sense gone? The judiciary ALL need to be sacked 😁
What a disgusting outcome the Qld gov should hang their heads in shame particularly when you look at the Bush fire damage that has recently been done
Unfair, unreasonable and punitive actions by DNRM serve only to alienate and enrage landholders who are trying to do the right thing.
This Govt is so corrupt & out of touch with reality, this farmer should have all charges revoked and commended for trying to protect his investment, shame on the fools that make up these stupid rules.
That is utter rubbish! Just a power trip and money grab for a hungry government. Enough of this nonsense.
Do NOT pay that fine. It’s a complete miscarriage of justice and waste of taxpayers money.
Who put up this ridiculous act and who passed it? Wewould all like to know I’m sure.
I would be getting current Affair Involved. This one is probably to big for them though.
How can we get involved this is absolutely outrageous, I wouldn’t know where to start 😢😢🥺
in Vic it was 1.5 m either side of your fence line or 3 m from your boundary fence you have to get in a Tonka toy to do the job, the department have no idea the sooner they stop us from farming with all there rules the better, that’s when they will start starving, they may rethink the way they treat the farmers, we are very much the minority in this country but we are the people who put food on their tables i’m getting to the stage now of down sizing reducing output i won’t go hungry but it’s time they did.
In view of all the fires around today, this farmer has done the sensible thing by protecting his property..Those who sit in rooms reading from a book have no idea of real life, commonsense has gone out the window and stupidity has taken over..All those making our laws re farming need to be farmers first and foremost they are the only ones who are capable of making laws. Any fool can learn out of a book..I hope those that are judging this farmer that karma bites them because that is the only way they will see commonsense . I feel for this farmers having to go through the courts, he has droughts to contend with and now mental health issues which could push him to take his life..Where is the true justice…Angry..
I reckon the politicians should pass an examination before they are allowed to regulate us. You have to get a licence to drive a busload of only 80 odd people. The pollies have no qualifications to get voted in. WRONG!!!
We should allow judgments on the grounds of common sense. Then the appointment of Judges and Magistrates occupying those benches should EXCLUDE politicians and public servants.
This is total BS! I’m so angry for the farmer concerned and feel for him and his family.
Should of had this guy coordinating the nsw fires at the moment, probably would be a hero now would of helped save lot oh homes etc
This is absolutely disgusting, it’s there land and if they want to protect it then let them. This is happening all to often with companies and councils these days you get one answer then get told another one do the one you are told then no sorry you aren’t allowed to do that. This year we lost 25 out of our 40 acres because we are not allowed to do our burn offs in winter and because no one puts fire brakes in anymore. When will you let us land owners go back to doing what we know on OUR land. I’m only 31 and we only ever had one big fire and it destroyed nothing because everyone had fire breaks in and our properties had all had a burn off so there wasn’t much fuel for it when I was little turn 31 this year and nearly lost our whole farm and have never seen so many fires since all these rules came into place. I feel so sorry for this guy and his family.
I can understand the landholders confusion with speaking to so many government officials and getting so many different answers to a simple question. My advice if in doubt speak to your local member of parliament they will provide the correct answer. Let’s hope the appeal will reduce the amount of fines and costs for the landholder.
Just ludicrous. Fire breaks are meant to protect your property. It is no use whatsoever if it is too narrow to do the job it was built for. I am sure this gentleman and his family are struggling physically and emotionally at the moment. I feel for them. They are the backbone of our nation
So so wrong! This farmer has done the right thing &contacted various authorities. The landowner seems to have no rights on property he owns which is wrong. He pays rates & should be able to choose what he does particularly in fire areas
This is just down right outrageous.. They blame. this weather on Climate Change but I believe it is because land owners are not allowed to manage controlled burn offs on their own property. This fellow tried to protect his own property and gets a million dollar fine for doing so… Our neighbour purchased and moved onto a heavily wooded small acreage and has had contractors there almost everyday removing trees etc.. and still is !!!!! I just think this is so so wrong what with the catastrophic fires that have swept our country in recent months. 4 lives lost … at least 170 houses lost.. bring back the cows… I think the greenies have a lot to answer for ….. There are a lot of people I have spoken to and they agree with me. so things need to change NOW If we dont want a repeat of these recent fires…Regards Jeanette Cartwright
since embers travel for kilometers in front of a large fire , depending on prevailing winds , I cannot ever seeing any firebreak being too wide regardless and at a time of crisis we have idiots out with bloody tapemeasures trying to find an excuse to make their pitiful lives seem worthwhile. I can think of a myriad of other things these muppets could be doing instead of wasting everyones time and picking on farmers that are suffering more than enough already
He is the only sensible land owner we have… other than our Indigenous cousins, who have the answer..
This is despicable! Beuracrats need to grab a brain and get organized. Anyway, what does it matter how wide the fire break is- at least he has them! Rest of Australia would do well to have some too no matter the width! This is just crazy. He should be praised not fined!!
Proof that our governing bodies are just getting stupider and stupider. Poor man. Hopefully the appeal will see a reversal.
Astoundingly ridiculous — whoever thought up this insane idea ?
How often does these stupid laws change? I thought the fire break had to be so much wider than the tallest tree on the boundary.
Quite obvious that those enforcing these ludicrous laws & those that are imposing these ludicrous fines…..do not own property, have never been through the traumatic experience of fire & obviously born with no brains. Get these pen-,pushing, blinded, brainless morons out onto fire affected properties to assist in the cleanups & the euthanasia of burnt livestock as well as wildlife.
This sort of thing is what’s been a paternal cause of the horrendous fires in Australia. Look at the trees they are high and almost touch, not at the base but in the tops. If a fire goes through like has been in the past weeks it will even now leap across this fire break. God where are these people who charged him. Wonder if they were down in New South Wales flogging fires. And helping people who weren’t allowed to make fire breaks or feed off vegetation fight the fire to save their house. Talk about lack of common sense in this country.
There is no price for human lives lost, and I’m certain that the cost of emergency services, water bombers etc would far outway the so called damage this poor ‘owner’ has supposedly caused to ridiculous enviro laws, made by people who most likely don’t have first hand experience.
He is only trying to protect his family and livelihood as he had already endured this devastation in the past. Give him a break.
And given the current state of the fire storms throughout NSW & QLD, who wouldn’t try to prevent further possible damage and provide better safety for their family and income.
Absolutely ridiculous judgement, let him off…he’s already been milked of $$ from legal fees defending himself.
Why don’t they find the arsonists and charge them for the enviro damage, emergency services etc, instead of an honest hard working bloke.
In the NT the legal limit is 4 metres but as a rural bush firie twice that limit is good. The wider the better for me.
This is more proof that it is politics to blame for the fires not climate change.
If every property, national park and council land had a decent fire break our wonderful country would NOT be burning out of control right now, 4 people may still be alive and 150 homes would still be standing, we would not have wasted billions of ltrs of water putting all of these fires
This farmer has lived a bushfire and knows what sizs fire breaks it takes to keep his property safe, how can a bunch of people who live in a bloody air conditioned office or court room have any idea what it takes to stop a catastrophic fire raging through a property and while that land is burning out of control you loose the native vegetation and native animals
To a horrific death so much more vegetation lost then in a decent fire break
These no hopper do gooders need totake note on how to listen and learn from people on the land and how they keep their property’s safe from a fire spreading instead of using them to make a overkill massive amount of revenue due to their ridiculously high fines that they know will bury that farmer who puts food in their bloody mouths
These greedy bastards are nothing but legal common thieves who have no idea what its like to live on the land
So well said Deb Anderson.. let farmers graze their cattle on the National Parks as once was allowed and fires will also be less a hazard. Regards Jeanette 🤗🦋
That’s so true a national park near where I live use to have cattle grazing on it for years once the laws came in the cattle got moved and what do you know this year it went up in flames and Took them nearly 3 weeks to get it under control enough to stop it. I’m only 31 and that park had never had a fire through it until they moved the cattle and let the vegetation build up
In light of the horrendous bushfires happening right now, this is the most ludicrous decision I have ever seen. Get this on all TV stations, all radio talkback and every newspaper in the country. This must be reversed. Scott Morrison take the lead please.
I feel as does many other people that the Greens and ALP must change their attitude because right now they are favouring a weed in the national parks over the lives of people, and domestic and native animals. Thousands of cattle, horses, etc are laying dead against fences, some of which are being shot by RSPCA workers rather than have them suffer a slow painful death. For God sake wake up and do the necessary clearing, burn under growth in the national parks during winter. These castrophic fires need not be. Let common sense prevail.
Also, refund this Property Owner his money as he is doing the right thing.
How absolutely ludicrous!
Is there any follow up on this farmer? I hope he is okay? Would be really great for somebody to contact him and have this story revisited especially in the wake of those terrible fires.
This is typical of the way most government departments and large companies behave all cause no one wants to make a decision on behalf of their employer in the event they make a mistake and are held accountable. Common sense does not exist.
How many ways can a government destroy an economy and kill a man’s spirit. This has to be number ONE on the list.!
This is a sad day that a government spends this much money to prosecute a farmer over a fire break to potentially save his future and possibly others. This government and officials need to be held accountable for their actions as this is just typical of government advice and information provided in other sectors.
Inconsistent information and no accountability if they make a mistake and the taxpayer/citizens are the ones that generally face the court and the consequences!
The laws need to be totally reviewed and a change in government and the department officials is needed for everyone’s sake!
If you pay peanuts you get monkeys, in this case stupid, ignorant, brainless pen pushers who have no knowledge of the land.
There should be a march on state parliament.
This actually something worth protesting about!
I wonder how much narrow fire breaks have cost the whole community.
People who make the effort should applauded and compensated. Not fined!
I hope he hasn’t paid. Judge should be given a lesson in common sense. Government should be held to account for spending our money on this when there are so many things that it could be better spent on. The laws need an overhaul with consultation from the people on the land who are affected by these laws they dream up. A 20 meter wide fire break is useless in fires like we are seeing now but scheduled burning would reduce how intense these fires are. Make some laws to outline that would be more helpful. As someone who has property and has asked for clear advise and been fed conflicting information I know exactly what he faced when trying to work out what he could and could not do. This result is sickening.
I’m appalled at this decision – especially in view of the serious fire threat so many Qld and NSW properties are under at the moment. Surely this measure should simply be seen as being proactive in such extreme weather conditions! Interestingly, I have a friend in business who’s neighbour is the Qld Government – who don’t mow or take any action to keep vegetation cut or kept at a minimum despite my friend’s business being in timber (ie highly flammable) – the consequence is my friend is unable to get insurance on their business due to the fire threat imposed by his neighbour’s property – obviously ‘what’s good for the goose is NOT good for the gander – Shame on you lawmakers!
This is disgusting. The farmer quite rightly made the firebreaks on his property. He had experienced fires previously on his property in 2011 -$300,000 damage. He did right thing by contacting government depts for advice. They all gave different advice! Then he is fined almost $1m. and the prosecutions costs are $706,309 – 3 times more than the fine! ! He should not have to pay this fine. He was doing the correct action for his property. The lawyers/government dept are a liad of crooks!
It would be interesting to know how wide they are making the fire breaks with the current fire events and if they are working. With nature of some fires in our native vegetation and distance is not far enough. With oil trees (eucalyptus, tea tree, and the introduced species like camphor laurel) ‘exploding’ and sending embers long distances it can be hard to contain even with fire breaks. Add a good wind and tinder dry fuel like we have at present and you have hell on Earth.
The Question could be asked ,that if the Landowner had repeatedly contacted the Gov’t Dept concerning the clearing of land for a specific purpose and acted on the professional advice of officers of that department , then does the Landowner have redress against the officers for wrongful advice and the Department vicariously . Have the Gov’t officers breached the code of conduct and if they gave wrongful information therefore may be subject to an investigation by the integrity unit.
Every farmer should have a firebreak
Is there any way of helping him?
These judges need a lesson in farming, not in communism, l detest them. Farmers are only doing the right thing in keeping their land safe. City ppl should butt out. They have no idea.
Just cause people live in cities, doesn’t mean they have no idea. It’s called common sense, which we seem to be losing more and more as a species on a daily basis.
Indigenous people understood the land, people can see what our ridiculous “laws” are creating and commonsense would mean those laws should be repealed.
But the pen pushers, not just city dwellers, maintain that the laws are there to be upheld , even if they’re point blank ridiculous and even if bad advice was given to a “perpetrator” by their own department(s), such as in this case.
I’ve had a few experiences myself in this regard, trying to deal with local governments and the ATO. Different people, different advice and ZERO responsibility taken for wrongful advice – sadly the onus always falls back on the person taking the action.
If the manifest injustice of this decision is not overturned on appeal, the final result is likely to be that no clearing will occur in future.
Because the risk of error is so great, the burden of “responsibility” will revert to government department/s and little fire protection will actually occur.
In light of the current bushfire situation this decision is deplorable. Incompetent management of bushland is a huge contributor to the scale of the bushfires and the very people responsible for this incompetence have the gall to prosecute this man. The magistrate is just as culpable.
Qld judges down
Farmers Australia wide really need to stick together
This tree hugging has gone way too far
If we drew a line in the sand tomorrow we could defeat this nonsense in no time – farmers pay the government a helluva lot of money!
Agforce seem compromised – any suggestions on who will take the lead???
The Gov contacted the farmer 2 YEARS after !@!!!!!!!!!!
Leave the farmer alone!! He “deemed” to the the right thing.
AND you Government built MORE Bloody DAMS, we are a dry country.
I don’t have words that we do this to farmers. You Govt. Departments are lower than a black snakes guts. That information should have been readily available before and handed out on one of your visits when you carry out pro active research. Man have we got some problems in this country, and it starts with these Govt.Departments. Haven’t come across a good one yet.
None of the Greenie-inspired Regulations allow for RESPONSIBILITY to be sheeted home to these lunatics who dream up these crazy rules.
And the Magistrate, living in her little bubble, throws the book at decent honest people trying to protect their assets.
Still, that is typical of Queensland.
One rule for the late-sipping dorks in the city, and another for those rural folk
How can we get the LNP to get back into government, so some of these lunatic rules can be changed ?
“However, some two years after the work began, he was advised by the Department that his fire breaks were too wide, and legal action followed.”
So this happened in 2013 whilst the LNP was in power.
This whole absurd event and process just shows how inept and ridiculously incapable the government is in providing the people with prompt and accurate answers on initial enquiry. The government employees should be sacked for not immediately providing the landowner with correct information. I don’t care which party is in power this shows the callous, uneducated staff employed. The fine representing government costs is completely income gathering.
Maybe they’d like a fire across the property and have the gas line explode. We are doomed in this country with totally incapable governments. We elect inept people from a very dumb field of applicants.
How bloody ridiculous, take the magistrate and the bloody greenies plus the government officials out there ,start a fire and see if the break is big enough, bet dollars they run like rabbits, that fire break wont stop much ,stupid people destroying our country.
As a rural land owner myself I am only able to clear a small portion of my 125 acres. The laws applicable to land clearing need to be revised with common sense applied. This is absolutely ridiculous as fire could rip through my property as there is plenty of fuel for the fire. I also back onto a forestry.
I suspect a lot of the fires burning currently are on properties that have been unable to clear their land to acceptable levels.
Please name the person from Department of Natural Resources who authorised this policy. In doing so they must take responsibility for impacts that ensue from their decision and be held accountable under the law.
This is worst case of government error and yet this more fellow has been charged for looking after his own land. For god sake look at the out of control fires throughout this country due to no back burning and fire breaks. All Australian people we have the loudest voices in this country however we do not use it stand against our governments, local concil are getting away on treating hard working Australians and destroying their livelihoods. I do hope commonsense is reached
and all allegations drop and no money to pay.
I would refuse to pay the fine and go on tv and tell the story too all tv station
These recent widespread fire disasters just go to show how poorly the government is managing our environment. It would appear they would rather a landholder let it all burn to the ground rather than let then manage it sensibly. Who will be held accountable for the loss of life and property and the billions of dollars spent or lost this fire season?
Is there some nameless person in the Dept of Natural Resources and Mining with an axe to grind (excuse the pun)? Pushing his or her personal tree hugging agenda.
You, Government, need to take a serious look at your actions in this.
Surely this warrants an investigation into the lack of consistency within the departments. Instead of investing money in prosecuting people trying their best to feed and clothe Australia when you keep screwing them over with import deals, you should invest the time and money in sending out a consultant to give detailed advice on each property so that no misunderstandings happen.
Honestly, you’re disgusting Government!!
32 attempts to gain correct information prior to creating the firebreaks.
That’s 32 times the government agencies and departments should have been held accountable and responsible to the conflicting and confusing information provided.
Penalties being applied to the owner for attempting to ‘abide by the laws’ is just as ridiculous as the 35 differing attempts the owner made in good faith to secure the information needed. The landowner is not the one who should be receiving the penalty.
It is unconscionable that a landowner cannot clear safe areas on his own land and even worse that there should be a bureaucracy who’s purpose seems to be to hinder the development of farming industries and bankrupt the landowner.
How can the Greens, ALP and Environmentalists sleep knowing they are greatly responsible for the loss of human lives. Not to mention the lives of many native animals, together with thousands of live stock…cattle, horses, sheep, etc. Plus the beloved family pets. No they feel nothing and stay tucked up in a safe city home tryig to safeguard their SEAT. You blame climate change for everything,,,look at the real picture. PEOPLE. Population growth! Increase in electricity use, but worst of all the RADIATION in the atmosphere…your excessive use of mobiles, laptops, I Pads, cars,(the uncapped thousands of rideshare cruising the streets) Sadly those making vital decisions in this country are fresh out of UNI and have no real life experience…only from a book. Finally one must ask what make a supposidely fair Judge see fit to make such an unfair and unreasonable decision against this farmer, when he should have been praised for his initive A man who has worked his guts out, as does every farmer. We all know correption is rife, but how far does it go.
We have a property in Baree in the past few years each year there have been fires nearby the fires start at the highway and come up over the range but the council have maintained a firebreak on our boundary and they back burn from there or let the fire burn down to the firebreak and they always manage to stop it I think firebreaks are essential
I agree with the proposition of taking the judge and all that support such rubbish down to the fire front tomorrow and then seek their opinion as to the sensibility of their decision.
I noticed a comment in this article about the government’s concern for the protection of sensitive eco systems. Apparently this doesn’t apply to bureaucratic decisions which disable farmers from doing hazard reduction burns in late autumn/winter period when fires do not burn fiercely and animals, birds, reptiles are able to escape without harm. The cool slow burn also means that flora species are also able to regenerate, the roots and seeds having not been burnt to ash.
Will the state government take their own bureaucrats and politicians to court for making/passing such bad laws that native fauna have been burnt to ashes in their habitat and fauna could become extinct because of their over the top ridiculous harassment of the rural communities in general. If a person is seen to be harming/killing protected species, they can be charged as criminals. Same rules, different days, different people.
Common sense flying out the window! Too wide, in light of the terrible bushfires, I would say NOT WIDE enough. It is stupid laws like this that have made controlling bush fires so difficult. In the “good old days” wide fire breaks were around nearly every forest area & the sooner we start doing this again, the better for all living creatures in the bush.
This is ridiculous. If the government want to take 2years to provide an answer and then not be specific the farmer should not have to pay this so called fine. The judge in this case is being unjust
I think going on current fires raging in QLD and NSW that man should have been fined for not making it wide enough, Ask any volunteer currently fighting fires if that’s too wide and they’d laugh at judge I’ve heard of spotting up to 26 k’s so if you’ve got enough land make it as wide as you think it should be to slow down fires. I personally would have 500 metres with no gum trees within 100 metres of house if this goes through the justice stem must be lack of TVs in Qld
Maybe Mr Purtill, may need to look over the border at the devastating bush fires in NSW, and rethink the whole case!! Firebreaks and conservative land ckearing by responsible landholders, will help to reduce the impact of out of control fires. The greens need to be held accountable for some of the devastation currently, had traditional clearing and burnoffs been carried out.
Lets hope the appeal gets a better outcome.
when we have so many departments having a controlling legal order but none of them agreeing with the other ones we the applicants should be able to get a written signed authority from any one of the relevant authorities and therefore be free from further obligation. The relevant departments should have a binding agreement between themselves that if one authority over rides another that it can not come back at the applicant.
Don’t you just love the way tax payers money is wasted. $ 2.2 mill. Wow.
These city beaurocrats should be hauled down to the current fire fronts in Qld and especially Northern NSW and made to fight the fires because we can’t clear or light fires for hazard reduction. These greenies/environmentalists have a lot to answer for. But they are safe in the cities and all they do is voice the norm – renewable energy, climate change, global warming.
The fire breaks Right width for the property with size of the treese i grew up in country. The wider the better & it his Property not yours, he is only trying save his investment & did not Cost the government any money, he is also Protecting the land around him. And if government are interested in regrowth they a leaf out Peter Andrew story about management of regrowth
The responsibility rested with the government employees who gave inaccurate advice. Any ambiguity needs addressing.
To waste taxpayer’s money in pursuing the landowner is unconscionable.
I think local and federal governments are totally out if control. Here we are with a landowner trying ti be responsible for his property and neighbouring properties, family and welfare of his animals and all the courts can do is punish him. Get all the people who gave him the wrong information to come forward and admit they got it wrong. No wonder this country is the way it is,
What a bloody disgrace! Maybe after these fires go through burning homes stock and people you may reconsider ! Leave farmers alone. They are going through enough! There’s more hope of them looking after their land than anyone else. I’m disgusted!
Oh my God it’s his own property he should be allowed to clear what he wants to.
To protect his property this is so disgusting he pays rates he safed his home no one had to come to help him save it he saved time for others to have their homes saved instead.
Wake up the greenies want let us burn off for years the under grove has built up send them to help with the fires.
Don’t pick on people for wanting to protect what’s theirs.
If the fires had come through all the animals woulnt be safed anyway wahts more important lifes or vegetation and animals well personly myself.
Regards Rhona Smith
Obviously a green judge. If there was more fire breaks and burnoffs our bushfires wouldn’t be as bad.
as a small land holder of little importance in a production field I’m probably out of step commenting–as a long time fire fighter and advocate that every owner is responsible for keeping their infrastructures defendable I think every level of government needs to be hauled through the hot ashes and then reevaluate
their thoughts and laws on these breaks NOW not in a five year study that will be again hi jacked by tree huggers and city folk
I totally agree with your comment Peter. Appears that even though you do the due diligence of asking for the correct information, these gov departments wait for you to make a mistake and then charge you for it..We had the exact same run around trying to get an answer on how wide an access driveway should be..
Whenever you seek a ruling or advice from any level of government you should do it in writing and insist on a reply in writing.
The arrogance of the “state” in persecuting… and that is the correct word… by prosecuting the fee owner of land for undertaking demonstrable preventative measures— in consultation with the state and based upon its guidance is simply stunning. Rather than a free country where the rights of the individual and the notions of “ownership” of property are paramount it appears that most western nations founded on those principles are now little more than totalitarian regimes virtually indistinguishable from the “soviet” model where freedom is extolled but illusory at best. It is a sad statement about “democracy” when the sickle & hammer is wielded against the individual in this fashion.
Particularly galling is the apparent (at least unreported “ failure of the “state” to assign any responsibility to its agents for their conflicted and contradictory guidance… 35 attempts by the owner to obtain appropriate guidance should have been mitigation enough to warrant the dismissal of this action. The fact that the state expanded so much in scarce tax resources reflects not only the witch hunt character of this but the monolithic character of modern government.
And yet some little heathen can break into houses, schools or businesses, cause tens of thousands of $$$ damage, steal and trash cars and walk away with barely a stern word from an old beak. Where is the community expectation in sentencing?
The man should be given a medal considering the current bush fire fiasco. Fine the dept for bringing frivolous charges to the detriment of the greater good of the country. Where is the capacity of the legal system to differentiate in favour of common sense over madness.
Qld is currently going through catastrophic fires due to Labor and Green parties legislation of not being able to do backburning for 10 YEARS!
These “environmental protection”laws have resulted in directly damaging our environmental and animals
sounds as though the department has plenty of facilities to to attack if their guidelines are broken , but none to help prevent mistakes. If the vegetation is so important why not assist farmers instead of waiting till the remnant vegetation has been destroyed then pretending to care.
How stupid no wonder we have the fires we have now
I’ll bet Queensland government are wishing they had taken notice of the common sense of this guy today instead of persecution!
If my memory serves this happened to a family in Vic just before black Saturday 2009…
To my recollection it was overturned or withdrawn when their house was saved by the defendable space
Yes Julie! I remember that too, fined for chopping/clearing trees around their property. Theirs was the only house left standing once the fires went through. I also remember an elderly couple that were refused permission to remove a dangerous tree overhanging their house. The diseased tree came down on the house killing the husband. She sued for the death of her husband, and rightfully so! The smart state? Non can lay claim to that. Leave Brisbane, Gold Coast etc to it and start a new state for the regions. They will go broke because they don’t generate any income and the regions will prosper without their idiotic government interference.
That is just appalling A farmer with some foresight to protect his farm in case of fires Penalised that much I think I would go to jail —-/& really is it possible that the authorities actually took so long to measure the area that it could possibly cost the $ 700000 or so dollars Fair Dinkum The AUTHORITIES are unbelievable
“She also ordered restitution for loss of forestry products of $17,471.” I think the reason he got fined is because he cleared state forest trees. They usually dont notice illegal clearing. The atmosphere relies on vegetation respiration. There is enough cleared land already. Please buy some of that for your farming.
What a disgrace that this man was sued by the Government and the courts found him guilty. Apparently Governments and Local councils have one Law for them and another for the people that vote them in. It’s amazing when the Government decides to build new infrastructure in the form of roads they will cut down and destroy thousands of acres of trees. With no thought given to the impact on the environment or wildlife that lived in these bushland corridors. Then to top this off we have Local Councils approving 1000’s of acres of trees and bushland to be cleared for new housing developments every day. Yet this poor man was given the runaround by Government apartments with conflicting information. When these properties were established with Government owned Bushland approaching on the private Properties fences the Government should build wide corridors from the bush land to the fence lines of these properties. Or allow the property owners to build them! Why? Because now Queensland and NSW are going through the worst bushfire season in Australia history. Private Bushland that is supposed to be looked after by Parks and Wild life are burning out of control and hundreds of homes on private properties are burning down because corridors were not cleared between the bushland and these properties. After the devastation of these bush fires! Farmers and home owners alike where bushland approaches their properties fence lines or houses should have under Law the right to form safe corridors to prevent the devastation of these out of control fires destroying privately own properties ever again.
Donna you are so right – clear hectares of bush for new developments because there are dollars to be made from future rates income! Houses now so close together that there is no “fire break” between them – all will burn, and the poor bloody firies will have buckley’s chance of stopping that type of fire. Clear bushland for roads and railways, but does the government get fined for doing this? Of course not – hands in the pockets of developers. All of these politicians and lawmakers should be made to go and clean up after the fires are out, to see the destroyed houses and sheds, and the carcases of stock and wildlife. Like all bureaucrats, make rules from the safety of your nice air-conditioned office without a clue as to the real “state of the nation”. The judge should have thrown this case out of court after this farmer made 32 attempts to get clarification. Just goes to prove that the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing in government, because they are too busy shaking hands with developers.
all those who have lost property etc in fires should take a class action against the departments involved for not allowing land holders to adequately protect their property and the departments should have to send large land holders the information they require for protection of all
What a joke, well we wish it was
Utter B.S. he’s done the property a service to protect it from total decimation in the event of fire.
His livestock also gain and can assist by keeping the breaks clear as they graze.
Seriously, the man was trying to protect the property as a whole.
I think the governing bodies need to reassess their guidelines and be on board across the board.
So who governs the courts when they make really stupid decisions? It is obviously only a money grab to pay for the government dept, whom decided in it’s wisdom and without any proof, that 10 plus mtrs for a fire break, was to big! The court needs a ruling against being unrealistic and not conforming to health and safety standards l feel!
A standard of twice the hight of the trees nearest a dwelling seems JUST adequate, if this courts ruling causes any property loss or deaths in the future on their heads be it!
Perhaps this magistrate and the vegetation management people need to visit the devastation caused by fires that is currently occurring in Both NSW and Qld. There’s a lot to be learnt from the traditional owners here. The greenies have a lot to answer for too!
This farmer has tried to comply by seeking advise but ends up in court with government and magistrate imposing life changing and ridiculous fines for a firebreak that’s could protect his property and family.
In view of the current situation with fires in Qld this was a VERY GOOD MOVE by the landowner. He would be able to stop fires and prevent more areas being burnt.
Oh my gosh, in the light of what is happening across the eastern coast at the moment, I do not blame this gentleman for trying to protect his property and find that what has happened to him goes against all our Aussie’s values…its time the Government butted out of peoples decisions on their own land, after all it was done to protect his investment in his property..
I hope this man is reimbursed in light of the catastrophic fires due to hazard reduction mismanagement of our government
Can you clarify how many “people” (from our Gov’t) were asked…I don’t think I read right!!!!
This is appalling 🙁
Absolute disgrace on the government side considering the dangerous firefight we are now having
Magistrate Elizabeth Hall ,Have you ever spent time in the bush? Today 11/11/19 watching the devastation of the fires and the loss of life and injuries.Firebreaks are essential so let people who have been there done it before decide on these decisions. If you want to contribute to society crack down seriously with drug dealers .Minimum 15 years jail even death penalty ? Importing large amounts of drugs only need to make example of a few will see less drugs on the street.
This is absolutely horrible, he should not have been fined a huge amount like that, for heavens sake, he was only protecting his place from fire just like all those people who have been burnt out should have done. I feel sorry for him and for all thos who have been burnt out because they were probably not alllowed to have fire breaks. Give the man a chance, how the hell could anyone afford to pay a fine like that and if he had made that fire break he probably would not have a home to live in now because of all the fires around at this time. I am shocked to read this horrible report.
Eidsvold is not that far from Sunshine Coast – where fires have been jumping containment lines. I wonder if firefighters were consulted as to whether they thought the fire breaks were too wide….
It’s plain to see this labor Qld government is so out of touch with farming needs. They are to scared to offend the green vote at the cost of farmers providing food for our nation, $$$ from export of a clean green product. We need the LNP to step up and for sensible voting out of this Brisbane centric government at the next election
Leave him alone he has done a sensible thing at least in the event of a fire which we never seem to have here in Queensland (not) his property will more than likely be saved.
In light of the current fire situation, this guy has the right to save his property, his family and community. He was being nothing but responsible deciphering between conflicting information.
These charges should be dismissed completely, this is insane on behalf of the authorities?
the Queensland government literally has its head head in the trees.
he tried to get the information and it appears the Queensland government has failed in its duty to serve one of its citizens.
This fine is ridiculous.
And now we are seeing the results of these Greens inspired regulations…homes and lives are lost both in NSW and Qld…not to mention the judicial anomalies of this case..a sad indictment of Qld Govt regulatory bodies.
It is questionable how , mankind could have slipped back in the history of fuel management like we have, I will understand if people disagree with my description of the condition of the sacred forest !! The term Preservation as it has been used to describe the present management system ,could be better described as total neglect ! To address The term fire brake as used by the management , would not be the proper term if it does not address the purpose or the term fire brake , I would compare what was accomplished in some of states in the US. Fire breaks were built in Minnesota , Wisconsin , Michigan , Pennsylvania , New York the states built fire lanes every mile in squares, dividing farms and adding bridges , and there has never been a major fire in any of those states , this was done in the 1920’s When a real fire brake and access is provided, control of the total loss in land and wildlife can be prevented . The width of the fire brake is is secondendary compared to the protection of the buildup and development of the top soil , It takes 100 years to develop 1 inch of topsoil , it provides the food for vegetation , and protects the moisture from the heat of the sun , Not enough attention is paid to what the losses to fire are , And too much attention to aesthetics !!!
Surely the QLD government and every other state in Australia needs to have a good long hard look at the bureaucratic red tape our primary producers need to wade through. Make a policy or decision that is definitive / black & white so that EVERYONE knows what is correct. Add to that the devastation of CURRENT fires in NSW & QLD surely common sense must prevail. Seems the legal system has no difficulty imposing ridiculous penalties on honest hard working people yet can’t impose maximum sentences on murderers child molesters or the like…something is very very wrong with the system…fix it please
The government departments, will cover their backsides, at the expense of the person.
This man approached 32 relevant DEPARTMENTS, as far as I can see from the article, he has not done anything wrong.
The courts have it wrong again
Over the top
Seriously this government is out of control a fire break needs to be done and 10 metres wouldn’t stop anything
I know nothing about rural areas but reading this report and all the comments I am tempted to say is this an April Fools joke? Shame on you QLD government, so glad I didn’t vote for you. Shame on the magistrate for not being sensible and laughing the whole thing out of court. I don’t know anything about setting up a go fund me although I’ve been the recipient of the generosity of the Australian dachshund community to cover a large vet bill. So if someone would please set one up I would be happy to contribute, am a pensioner but will do what I can.
Like Patricia Owens, I haven’t read all of the numerous comments, but it’s plain to see that this farmer was trying to do the right thing. What a diabolical shambles this is. Heads should roll in the Government over the shocking treatment of this man. He and his family are among the people we rely on for food, etc, so why persecute them instead of helping.
I have read a number of the above comments, not all as there are too many to read, but it is very obvious to me that most Australians feel the same way in relation to this matter. As Queensland country has suffered some horrendous bushfires recently, that should be enough for commonsense to prevail and this farmer to be completely vindicated of all charges. This guy has been completely responsible, by what I have read. Where has our Australian ‘Fair Go’ gone. I am horrified!
Unbelievable. Poor bugga. Everyone having a crack at these labor twits. They designed and enacted these stupid laws. It is that Magistrates job to fairly enforce. I hold that politically disposed excuse for a magistrate in contempt as much as pitiful pollies who brought this in.
The attitude of the Qld Government is pathetic, the rural community clearly understand they have no chance of changing the current governments attitude. All they can do is work hard to get rid of them. Regrettably its a difficult job to obtain a change of government because no body in the populated areas gives a hoot who is in government. So these crazy land clearing laws will continue to be applied, rural families will suffer. Mr Baker needs support, we have to assume the current 1 Million fine will be reduced to a significant lesser figure on appeal. It sounds like beef central and other,s are doing there best to expose the QLD Governments disgusting, evil legislation, and militant style enforcement, even though the enforcers don’t understand the regulations they are imposing.
For an effective fire break to enable control of a real fire 30 to 50m is considered necessary. Does QNPS have scientific evidence to support 10m.
Well,well,well this administration crew that call themselves a government have done it again. This poor guy is doing the right thing to save people and property and he gets punished. We were burnt out once,over a thousand acres after a fire jumped a main highway, 40 metres hardly wide enough in my books
Absolutely Despicable government interference!!! All one has to do is look at the devastation we have recently gone through in California to see how absurd and downright corrupt our govt. agencies have become. We have just endured some of the most destructive fires in CA history due to this kind of bull* hit, too many dead to even count as of yet, unimaginable destruction of property and livestock, infrainfrastructure. I swear this is deliberate at this point, an easy way for them to buy the land back for pennies on the dollar, greedy evil bottom dwelling psychopaths! Hang them all from the highest trees!!!
This is just wrong! Government needs to butt the hell out of our lives. This man did his best to follow the instructions and law and no fine should be imposed at all. It’s HIS land and the freaking government officials don’t even know their own laws! Grrrrrrrr
Typical of ignorant people making laws for things they no nothing about. Ask any fireman standing in front of a raging 20 meter high tree top fire how big a. break he needs and 100 meters won’t cut it. Did anyone ask the firemen of the district what a safe break should measure? Obviously not.
Again I say people running departments that have never run a Pie Raffle shouldn’t be making laws for our State or Country.
Maybe be the insurances companies should start to bill the Government for the cost incured by these farmers when a bush fire passes through their land, if they have prevented the farmer from doing everything they can to protect their property. And murder charges if anyone lost their life. It is crazy when you can’t protect yourself from danger because of a desk sitting bureaucrat that makes the rules.
They have gone too far with this rot; can we start a combined group to fund a legal or political action to fight this unjust penalty, and make the population fully aware of the ridiculous morons that are in the Queensland Government.
I’m ready to chip in, somebody please get this underway while we have some Farmers left, that aren’t Broke.
This is some what flippant but in light of the fires burning in Queensland if you put half the investorgators and prosecutors infront of a 20 metre fire break and the rest infront of a 40 metre fire break with an on coming fire being whipped up by wind, then make the judgement based on who moves last…. I think we all know where the decision would sit!
How do we help this guy out of these ridiculous fines and change future outcomes?
This is what we get when we are governed by career politicians who have had little or no experience in the private sector and ruled by a bureaucracy of public servants run by over compensated heads of department.
Very timely in our current state of widespread loss of property and life due to fire. Lesson learned. Let it burn and ask for handouts!
How many properties lost by inadequate fire brakes Nothing learn,t from Victoria of blue mountains Is this greenie rubbish Goverment intervention again
Idiots, it’s about time that our people of power grew up, It’s not all about money it’s about common sense which none of you have, you are greedy and stupid. I think the general public should stand up against this type of treatment and extortion, I the olden days they would have, it’s immoral and wrong. It’s like that guy who had to pay taxes for getting help for the farmers. Maybe the people who are running this country should stop crawling to overseas and do their job look after our own.
Just another example of an out of touch government making decisions that don’t reflect public sentiment or opinion.. I hope he sets up a go-fund-me page, I’ll donate to it… And vote out the current incompetent government, small wonder that there is far more discontent with out political systems and parties…
How do we help this poor bloke without lining more pockets of the legal system that saw fit to prosecute.
This is a sorry indictment of Australia the do-gooder regime with their we know best attitude of renewable energy, climate change and the rest of their catch cries. Here is the perfect reason why these minority parties are not good for Australia they prevent logical thinking in allowing people to protect themselves and their property and also to protect animals that provide the food for their table, oh I forgot they are all vegans. Also shame on the Labor party for allowing themselves to be held to ransom by a self interest group such as the greens, talk about a marriage made in hell. To the poor farmer who knows what he is doing this is what is contributing to farmers walking off their properties, bet it wouldn’t have happened if was Chinese owned the Government would have even supplied the equipment to do the job. Although I am from NSW I know what these fires can do having seen it so often. But the big question is if a self-assessment is applied then why is a permit required? Sounds to me like a Government Department practicing CARE (Cover Arse Remain Employed) so if we stuff up we can still get at you.
With what is going on up north with the fires, and cannot stop them (because there are no fire breaks). Well sit back and wait for the day when the next fire to come along and burn your property too the ground, then use the very same court ruling too sue them for damage’s and personal lost, and make shore you go after that magistrate, we all know that people that sit on there ass in the city, don’t have any idea what goes on in the country.
Take the people concerned to the high court, I an sure you could get crowd funding for this, the greens need to get out of the city and have a look at the real world. 40 metres is not enough if there is a high wind and low humidity, only have to look at the TV where the firefighters were worried about the fire jumping a wide creek recently. And to have 30 plus answers to his questions, how many different departments do you have to do to for a proper answer ?
SHAME on QLD GOV ! !
We will have to go all “French” on Australian Governments and Bureaucrats if we want our country back.
Poor bloke trying to do the right thing and getting nailed in court should hang there heads
This is why I spend so much time on these ever changing rules for my clients.
Fires occurring in Qld right now are a direct result of mismanagement of bushland and poor advice to property owners. This magistrate clearly does not have a clue on what happens outside of the court chambers. If this chap had not sought any advice, then some form of “punishment” would have been the norm. However, he did seek assistance from incompetent people who will get off scott free for giving this man the wrong information. Call it for what it is – crap. As a footnote, from memory, in February 2009, a property owner was fined something like $50000 for building a firebreak around his property in Victoria. His one one of the few properties to survive the horrendous black Saturday fires.
oh my god here it is 2018 and the whole of Qld on fire, that did not have clearing for fires, so who is to blame now, sorry but this is ridiculous, how is anyone able to pay fines like that
This is unbelievable that a person cannot protect his property from fire and then fined a 1million for building a fire break to wide does anybody know how wide they should be it would depend on the ferocity of the fire and wind to know how wide a fire break would be needed
This is a rediculouse outcome!
Being a Victorian and having seen the devistation of bushfires, and NOW Qld, is in the midst of their own!!
WHEN WILL GOVERNMENTS ACT FOR THE SAFETY OF PEOPLE AND NOT THEIR POCKETS!!
Again, is it the minority ruling, such as the greens, for not allowing burn offs, making it so trees come before human lives?
Wake up, the judicial system stinks already by allowing child molesters, rapists, murderers and drunk drivers to roam free and to attack and kill again putting the public at RISK!
While this farmer has tried to go about protecting his family, stock and income, if he is lucky enough to make one, after seeking an answer that no body could definitively give!
Wake up from smelling the roses, this is life and death being dealt with. Remove the stupid charges and fines!!
Good luck mate.
If the attached photos are of the actual area, there are a few “issues”.
All of the visible tree trunks appear to be black, ie. subject to relatively recent, low-level fire.
Given the well-known propensity for such things to develop into “crown” fires, fire-breaks need to be ‘generous and easily accessible to fire crews.
As most primary producers would also know, a major factor is fence maintenance, especially when using wooden posts. Star pickets are termite and fire-resistant but more expensive than local timber. The heat from a fast-moving grass fire is often insufficient to damage serious hardwwod posts, nor to actually ignite mature trees.
Note that many of our indigenous cousins had a serious regime of “burn-offs” going for millennia. What this did was redefine the entire landscape into seas of waving grass, (Skippy food), dotted with the odd mature tree. Every time the tribes went “fire-stick hunting” they maintained this regime because the fire burned off the grass and besides the take-away grilled lizards, etc., left a carpet of ash for the next rains. See also Major Mitchell’s reference to “Australia Felix”.
Note that the classic gum tree is a fire-climax type. The tough seed-pods often NEED a quick “warm-over” from a fast-moving, ground fire to crack open and germinate. The fire also kills off any small competitive undergrowth.
If the “ground cover” builds up too much, your soil will be destroyed in the next “big one”. The heat from the burning underbrush will penetrate a couple of feet into the soil, destroying the complex micro-community of all the bacteria, fungi, etc. that process leaf-litter, animal droppings etc. into nutrients for the grass and trees.
Folks should dig out any text or photographic records of their properties and see what the “raw” state was a hundred and fifty years ago.
This guy should be rewarded for taking the time to protect the land native flora and fauna habitat future proofing against fire not just his property but adjoining property should be enough what we’ve seen recently we’re not doing enough . Think you might have have a relook at this one Anastasia.
Thats stupid you dont even get fined that much for murder including your sentence
I am a former Senior Ranger with QPWS (20 years) as well as local Fire Warden at the time. I have recently experienced the implications of the application of this rediculous legislation in relation to a simple residential house application I have submitted on my 5 hectare lot which was conservation zoned but already has all services (power, water including my private reservior, sewer & an internal road through the property. It is predominantly rainforest with a pre existing cleared area where I am building the house… The issues included last minute delays by having this legislation applied eg: they told my planners that I had to clear a 20m wide fire break = in a rainforest conservation zone which vegetation will not burn to threaten the buildings anyway & all other state & council policies authorities would prosecute me if I did clear. Apparently they also wanted me to pay $6,500 & wait for another 3 months minimum to apply for tree/vegetation clearing even though we are not clearing at all !? After months of negotions my planners have cleared with DNRM how ever the legislation is still unchanged & could be applied to other residential house applications in regional cities!
In Victoria a lady wanted to clear a 15m strip to get power to her new house. The Govt wanted her to plant back 15 trees for everyone taken out. When an aerial photo was eventually looked at ,one would not been able to open a pocket knife in the rest of the property an although some 320 trees were to be removed there was no way known she could have fitted another 1500 trees anywhere. Beurocrasy gone mad.
My country, my country. What has become of you? As time moves on, there is less of what I knew to come home to. (Expat in US)
Many great responses in support. The idiots that are in executive positions of our Govt in many instances should be sacked. Geoff Jones comments today reflects what we all feel I am sure
Sounds like the Australian government is as bad as the US government!
If I were you I would have a few friends pop round and record conversation with the government on the same information and see if their answers match but secondly why did it take them 2yrs to complain about it obviously somebodies being made an example of due to their ( the government’s )negligence at not doing their job and need to be accounted for and dismissed . That’s my rant I would like answers to the questions above also why take so long to bring it to your attention also it’s your land so why are they not applauding you instead for trying to stop the fires
this govt should be sacked immediately for doing this to a fellow Qlder. they cannot manage the State and waste more than they get in so do things like this to obtain more funds to waste………if I was the Magistrate I would have found for the farmer & gaoled each one of the 32 he sought advice from as well as the govt personal including the Premier and ministers , including their lawyers who were involved in this case for 25 years , no parole , see if that would make them wake up to themselves ………..
I wonder what the outcome of this fiasco was and what it means in relation to a large portion of Queensland burning out of control at the moment?
A sad sign of things to come, as Governments get bigger so does their appetite for more money. This money grab then leads to a loss of personal freedoms. THE ANSWER 1). Reduce Size Of Bureaucracy 2).Repeal All Laws Of Subjugation — including the Inhuman Rights Commission & Racial Discrimination Act.
I’m so angry about this I can barely put into words how disgusted I am with the Government, as they are ok with Adani destroying our environment, use our precious water resources, I just don’t get it.
On reading these comments…and having worked in Qld Lands Dept years ago it seems that the Departments involved in these matters should be reviewed. It is no secret in Govt that some Departments will not talk to others for whatever reason but could well be that the Directors General are often in competition over their power which is usually determined by the size of their budget. This filters down into the staff.
Banks and other private institutions can be subject to Commissions into their behaviour but I have never heard of Govt Departments being subjected to rigorous reviews.
It’s time. Only people and media power can do it. Step up to the plate media leaders. This is a major issue for land holders all over Australia.
Why are we letting people from the city telling us landholders how to manage our property’s Just look @ what has happened along the coast right now at this moment no one is allowed to make fire breaks because of the risk of being fined Big Time let’s get rid of this Government
Farming in South Africa, you should go on your knees that you have farmers that make firebreaks.
Frankly if the department are not clear on the details how can the government expect the general public to know how to comply? The department must accept full responsibility and move on from this money grab from farmers who are already struggling and amongst the highest suicide rates in the country!
L find the lack of common sense a typical government policy making fault…also I’m the light of the Queensland fires here is a pro active land owner who has got out and auctioned fire breaks……. for God’s sake where I’m this new age world will the bull s……. stop and good sensible practices start……
recently drove the Warrego Way & whole swathes of country have been demolished between Charleville & Morven – so whats happening here !
We purchased a property with remnant vegetation – thanks to the conveyancing solicitor not performing a search we had requested – so we contacted DNR to find out what that meant. Had to make an appointment to speak to an inspector by phone, as they will not travel to talk to a landowner, or actually look at a section of protected vegetation. He was unable to say much except that we should not pick up a single fallen branch, or damage a single ‘woody plant’ in the area. Within the designated area are many tree stumps, as the place has been well cleared in the past. According to the inspector we spoke to, although we are not allowed to do anything in that area, (an area we have paid for and own), if we find there are trees on there that can be used for power poles the whole lot can be cut down!!!! How do you take the whole thing seriously? I appealed our rate notice – the most expensive block in the street according to the Valuer General – much larger blocks pay less rates than us – pointing out that a fair bit of it is not available for us to use and manage as we would choose because of the ‘remnant vegetation’ classification – we were told ‘stiff luck’. You don’t get any rate relief even though you are not allowed to use your own land for your own purpose. The whole vegetation management lurk is a joke. We now have a fire hazard, and are too scared to put in a fire break for fear of what this poor man has had to endure. A very unfair and poorly managed situation in Queensland, that leads to very poor outcomes.
This scares the hell out of me, Iv’e just purchased 3800 acres, And I’ve already got conflicting advice on what i can clear… around sheds/house, creating new dams and clearing around them. firebreak width, clearing along fence lines.. Id like to break it up into nine 430 acre paddocks with 20 meters either side of the fence line cleared. It makes sense So who exactly do i get confirmation from on what i can and cannot clear? Without worrying about being held accountable for them giving me wrong advice.
Just goes to show, only ask once and get it in writing. Have found that the more you ask the more different answers you will get. Let the only person you ask get stuck with the explanations.
Having been a volunteer fire fighter for 45 years and First Officer of the Rural Fire Brigade for 25 years, I have experienced wild fires that travelled through tree tops before burning along the ground as well as numerous other bush fires. My experience proves that a 40 metre break would not stop a wild fire in windy conditions. This size break, I would suggest should be a minimum in this timbered situation. It is high time that the government beaurocrats listened to the people on the ground who have been in these dangerous situations – after all we are the same people who are required to have biosecurity plans in place to take care of the land and protect the environment for future generations. Fire management is only one part of a biosecurity plan and a property owner is the best person to manage his own plan. I agree with the above comments – all the very best wishes for a successful outcome Mr Baker.
This is why there are devastating bushfires in the southern states of Australia because the labour and greens won’t let people create firebreaks. If there is too much leaf litter on the ground it may stay red hot for a long time this allows the ground to become that hot that it kills the large tree roots and you have large trees dying. Go to the northern territory and see how they have cool burnoffs this kills regrowth and removes ground litter and stops the tree roots being destroyed.
What a bloody disgrace when a hard working australian man can not protect his property who gets this 1million dollars these judges ought to hang there heads in shame this is just unacceptable ????
This seems like a case of contradictory bureaucratic misinformation. In a time when weather extremes are getting greater, it is difficult to understand the logic in this decision. Sometimes it seems that governments lack any form of common sense. There is nothing more common than the lack of common sense in government decisions.
Obviously those applying the laws here have never experienced a decent bush fire and how quickly it can cross small clearings. This is disgusting and should be appealed to the highest court. If 40m firebreaks were mandatory we would have lots less houses burned during bushfires down south but the greenies wouldn’t allow it
I urge Mr Baker to fight this on constitutional grounds……the constitution is the highest law in the land and state governments have been in breech of it for many years…..this case is another example…………good luck.
Where has justice gone?
A farmer trying to do his best punished.
Looks like communism.
Queensland government website today says 20m or 1.5 times the height of adjacent trees. Exemption categories for fire break on freehold, lease hold or Indigenois land.
Remember what happened some years ago in Reedy Creek? The Sheahans built a fire break, was fined by the council for doing so, and then ended up being the only house standing after a devastating fire raized everything to the ground around them. So it’s ok for the gas pipeline to have a 40m corridor but not the fire break? Double standards?
This is absolutely ridiculous shame on you Labour party
This is absolutely ridiculous shame on you Labour party
What about the fire breaks around Qld. Government Forestry Reserves.
You drive between Inglewood and Millmerran and take note of the fire breaks alongside the road in forestry areas would have to be 20 to 30metres wide.
But thats ok for the government to clear these fire breaks but not landholders.
By what I read the government should train its staff with what the requirements are so the landowners are doing clearing to the government guidelines.
What about the 40metre 9. 3 km corridor for the gas pipeline were the gas companies fined for their clearing.
This is ridiculous! Can’t make a firebreak a few meters wide in order to protect your property in the bush, but it’s perfectly ok to clear acres and acres of trees which are home to a multitude of animals, to build highrises one after the other in the city and along the coastline. Wake up Labor and Greens shame, shame, shame on you for what you’ve done to this man!
Absolutely ludicrous! What sort of country are you trying to promote, shame on you Labor/Greens. Since you have no idea, do everyone a favour & vacate the chair
Farmers do the best for their land – good firebreaks help contain huge bush fires that destroy whole farms houses and also cause death.
Before laws are made farmers firefighters and others should be consulted.
Firebreaks should be studied to make them better
Check types of firebreaks after bush fire.to make them better.
Gum trees- eucalyptus contain oil – very inflammable – volatile oil and should be replaced with fire resistant trees like Lillyppilly at least on each side of firebreak
The eco-Nazism suffered by Mr Baker at the hands of vindictive, power-obsessed control freaks should appall all fair-minded people. Was it not Voltaire who declared, “All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”?
In this context, for “evil” read “mindless tyranny”.
I am also a farmer, and fully support this farmer’s attempt to make his property safer. Also, the fact that he inquired extensively of various departments, and followed the very vague guidelines shows that he wanted to do things legally, but was not given clear parameters. ANYTHING which will help save a home and livestock from the ravages of bushfires is justified. Farmers are not stupid, but well-informed professionals in their field who understand the dangers of fire, and do their best to minimize the risks.
Is 20 Mtrs realistic as a fire break in that country……. not with a wind up, it will easily jump that. It is painfully obvious that Mr baker has erred on the side of caution in dealing with the clowns we put in charge and received a kick in the bum for his troubles. If you think I am having a rant consider the householder in the blue mtns fined I think 300,000 for clearing around his house. The only one in his area untouched by the fire. And you think my description as clowns is a bit harsh.
A 20metre firebreak is a joke , fire will jump that
in a flash. Too late after the event , some public servant sitting at a desk in A/C office in George St could not careless for the bushfire losses sustained. Probably never even ventured west of Toowoomba!
Why was this landowner given so many different answers and then when the ruling is made ONE is correct?? I bet if a road or power line or gas line was happening in treed/forest area it would happen without hesitation.
The immorality of government is astounding. The incompetence of the judiciary frightening .
This is rediculous. It’s a fire break. It will grow back unlike what Mining companies are doing to this country. Complete destruction of landscape Open holes and no rehabilitation.
A 40 metre cleared easement for a pipeline can be granted under the special powers given to the Co-ordinator General for projects of significance for the State. This can circumvent laws and Regulations that apply to the owners of the land over which the pipelines are imposed and can facilitate the clearing of at risk vegetation and protected species. It is one thing for one party and another for the other on exactly the same piece of land, because the Government chooses to disregard its own laws but will punish spitefully other parties. I am always amused at the idea of costs for court action being claimed by the Government. Those staff members and facilities are fully funded under the annual budget and whether they were investigating Mr Baker or involved in Kumbaya Team building days or sitting on their backsides under a tree, their costs are already covered by the budget allocation and it is plain dodgy to make an allocation and then seek to generate funds equivalent to their operational costs for doing what is in essence the same tasks they have been funded for as their core business. It is like being charged twice for the one purchase.
It would appear on the basis of what is in this story, that the Department has failed to discharge its responsibilities in providing accurate advice to a client and then prosecuted the client who having sought accurate advice was denied it.
This really fails the sniff test and I think most fair minded people would consider this situation as deplorable and a travesty of justice. This kind of thing reinforces the growing sense of contempt that Queenslanders feel for governments and the political chameleons that are the senior echelons of the Public Service. How is it that one DG in one Department can persue this course of action and the Head Honcho of another can authorise the destruction of vegetation on a wider level of impact in the same locality?
I seem to remember a story about some animals in a farm where All were equal,but some were more equal than others.
ALP hang your heads in shame. This honest man is being victimised doing a job to save the forest country. He should get a pat on the back not made out to be a criminal. Shame on ALP/Greens
As a rural firefighter and farmer I am absolutely appalled by the treatment of this man . Having seen for myself the damage that bushfires can do not only to remnant vegetation but also to wildlife ,infrastructure and the loss of human life 40 metre firebreaks should be mandatory on every rural property in Queensland.
This government asks firefighters to put their lives in danger everyday with firebreaks just wide enough for a wallaby to get through but he ain’t stopping because it is that overgrown with rubbish their is nothing to eat. The aboriginal people have taught us that cool burning of timbered land keeps regrowth under control provides food for wildlife and grazing animals and stops mature trees from dying due to intense heat, but this can only be achieved with wide safe firebreaks. As for our highly educated judge, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is not the bush,go for a drive spend a couple of days with this man then pass judgement,you may change your mind.
Our government doing what they always do not helping the people but riping people off revenue raising.
If people ask for help give it to them give them the legislative requirements then if they break the law then take them to court.
If anyone needs more evidence that the law is called the law because it is definately not justice I don,t know of a better example than this. We need to smash and dismember the political party parasites that cause and support this decision. Those scumbags should be evicted from any position of leadership for ever. P S I,m begining to understand the french solution that they employed for out of cotrol beauracrats and governor’s.