Forest Products Minister Paul Omodei said today that he and his family had always maintained the verge outside their Pemberton property and had actually planted the trees which had recently been removed to make way for others.
Mr Omodei said the roadside had been totally cleared by Main Roads when reconstruction of the Vasse Highway occurred about 30 years ago.
Trees adjacent to and along the fence line had been planted by the family.
Between two and three years ago, contact was made with Main Roads and approval was given to remove some vegetation when the fence was replaced south of the family driveway. Written approval was obtained from CALM.
The boundary fence was very old and the risk of cattle straying on to the highway was real, so it was necessary to remove it and vegetation in the fence line.
Mr Omodei said that there had been no concerns from Main Roads previously, it was presumed that approval for the remainder was not necessary.
Inspection of the heap, which fortunately had not been burnt, would reveal sticks, posts, and the following species: Corymbia citriadora (lemon scented gum), Eucalyptus muellerana (yellow stringy bark) and E.saligna (Sydney blue gum) which are not native to WA.
Native Corymbia calophylla (marri) and Persoona longifolia (snotty gobble) remain on the embankments.
“It probably says a lot about my green attackers that they can’t tell a karri tree from an import,” Mr Omodei said.
The Minister added that his family had always maintained the verge by mulching and had removed watsonia, veldt grass, Guildford grass and other exotic species.
“We have always been responsible land holders as far as Main Roads and other public bodies are concerned,” Mr Omodei said.
“Investigation of the verge south of our driveway will reveal a ripper line in preparation to plant new trees, for which I will seek approval from Main Roads.
“Later on, we intend to renew the boundary fence adjacent to State forest and a permit from CALM will be sought for the necessary associated clearing just as it was before.
“In this case we are talking about trees we planted and about which we have had previous contact with Main Roads.”
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700