Wednesday 17 January 2018


Some trees and other vegetation posing a bushfire risk to Wonthaggi Hospital will be removed on the advice of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and following consultation with Bass Coast Shire and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP).


Bass Coast Health Chief Executive Jan Child said the safety of patients, staff and visitors was a priority.

“With the predictions of an extreme fire danger period this summer, we have been advised that certain trees and undergrowth within 40 metres of the hospital must be removed to ensure maximum fire mitigation,” Ms Child said.


Independent assessments have been undertaken by both an arborist and land management specialist and both companies have confirmed that none of the trees planned for removal are indigenous to the area.


BCH has met on a number of occasions with the CFA, DELWP and Bass Coast Shire to assess the situation, consider the independent reports and develop an agreed plan.


The CFA’s Assistant Chief Officer for the South East, Trevor Owen, said it was important that all properties were well prepared for the summer period and the hospital was no exception.


“We need to avoid bushfire getting into the hospital building and the best way to reduce bushfire risk is through vegetation management,” Mr Owen said.


Where possible, trees will be pruned rather than removed. The arborist’s report also identified some trees on site that need removing because of their risk to patients and visitors as a result of falling limbs and scattering of seed-like nuts.


“We have had instances of heavy branches falling across roads and pathways, hitting cars and narrowly missing people,” Ms Child said. “And there have been occasions when patients, visitors and staff have slipped on the nuts covering the ground resulting in significant injuries”.


Ms Child said BCH has received funding to install a fire sprinkler system throughout the hospital which will further decrease risk to patients and the project will commence in the coming weeks with the aim that it be completed before next summer.


“We are committed to taking whatever action is needed to ensure the safety of everyone at our hospital,” she said.


The tree removal will start on Wednesday and will aim to be completed within two weeks.

For more details, please contact Jan Child on 0472 846 355.