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Environment

DOING FINE: A patriot’s vision saved his house despite persecution from enviro-bureaucrats

patriotwithaxe Liam Sheahan is almost certainly a boofhead. But he’s a patriot too. A very large Aussie flag flies patriotically from his property in Reedy Creek. He cracks a smile when he sees a chainsaw.

Years ago, he decided to clear by subtle means of bulldozer a whole bunch of trees surrounding his home on top of a hill which is no doubt also his castle.

The local council – Mitchell Shire – cracked the sads at his unilateral approach to fire safety, persecuting and prosecuting him, securing a $50000 fine and costing the axe-wielding patriot another fifty thousand in legals. He was ably represented in the hearing by barrister and former Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Clem Newton-Browne.

As noted by a commenter below who helpfully put up this link, the bloke’s cause was probably not helped when the council pursued him over the removal of the trees, according to the Herald Sun he responded [pdf] patriotically but perhaps unwisely:

the Sheahans told the complaining residents and the council to ‘‘get stuffed’’ when asked to explain the clearing. ‘‘We could not care any less than we do now what any self-righteous self ap-pointed ‘green police’ person thinks about what we are doing,’’ they wrote. ‘‘It is our place, not theirs. We have owned it since 1982. We paid for it, not them, and they can go and get stuffed.’

Ultimately his decision to remove 250 trees saved his family and his home during the weekend’s bushfires.

He told The Age’s sceptical scribes:

“The house is safe because we did all that,” he said as he pointed out his kitchen window to the clear ground where tall gum trees once cast a shadow on his house.

“We have got proof right here. We are the only house standing in a two-kilometre area.”

He condemned the pinkos among Mitchell Shire officers and clowncillors:

“The council stood up in court and made us to look like the worst, wanton environmental vandals on the earth. We’ve got thousands of trees on our property. We cleared about 247,” he said.

Why does policy lunacy get a a patriot who wants to build a small fire break fined tens of thousands of dollars. Liam Sheahan has all the answers:

“Both the major parties are pandering to the Greens for preferences and that is what is causing the problem. Common sense isn’t that common these days,” Mr Sheahan said.

The man clearly – and urgently – belongs in Parliament.

Discussion

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  1. I’m votin for ya Liam. I hunt, shoot and love me four-wheel drivin too and by gods we need you in Parliament.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 18:35
  2. It’s high time the media was belted into reality and that the true story of the disgusting greens was made a number one priority. Their policies are pitiful and downright antisocial and they have an unhealthy and unrepresentative power in parliament.

    Both major parties should hold the greens up and publically flail them. Cut them out of the process just like they did with One Notion (now there’s a juxtaposition worth exploring!)

    Deal out Bob Brown and his band of forest fairies. The only reason they manage in Tasmania is because of the no longer needed equal senators per state requirement in the constituion.

    Posted by Stop the green menace | February 12, 2009, 19:32
  3. The Mitchell Shire officers who issued the infringment notice SHOULD BE IN JAIL.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 19:36
  4. The Greens should be publicly flogged.

    Having said that, the Nationals are meant to be the “voice” of the bush but they are a disgrace and have been the biatch of the Liberals for the past 30 years.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 19:40
  5. maybe liam should tell the whole story

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 19:43
  6. The report on Today Tonight clearly shows he built a menage, so obviously the clearing was for a bit more than just fire protection, he probably wanted a place for his horse to graze too. He would have been able to get a permit to clear in accordance with CFA guidelines with a lot less effort than it cost him in the end. Don’t jump to conclusions. He shouldn’t have bought a bush block if he didn’t want to live ‘in the sticks’.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 20:20
  7. what was the original fine before it went to court
    dig deeper on this one

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 20:35
  8. Liam is a patriot of the highest order. The major parties should heed to his advice. Greenies beware. We are coming to get you. And we won’t be showing you mercy!

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 21:38
  9. he was prosecuted under a new native vegetation policy introduced by the bracks government since 1999

    Posted by ahem | February 12, 2009, 21:50
  10. To those wanting to defend the council or other councils’ planning restrictions and penalties – tell that to King Lake residents. Their council would not let them cut down trees which in the end, in some way, did contribute to the horror. Well done you tree hugging greenies. Idiots!

    Posted by Jokers | February 12, 2009, 21:54
  11. the policy and legislation for vegetation protection have been essentially the same since 1987, but with ongoing improvements to wildfire protection provisions.
    here’s a link to an article in 2004 about the clearing http://www.manwhatafuss.com/media/pdf/fev-herald-sun.pdf
    i don’t think telling people to ‘go and get stuffed’ helped the situation

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 22:07
  12. check out page 65 of this document, provides a run down on what happened. http://www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/Files/12_Sept_05_Minutes.pdf

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2009, 22:23
  13. Liam Sheahan is no community hero, he is a ‘Uncle Chester’ is you know what I mean.

    Posted by anon | February 12, 2009, 22:33
  14. ah. so he wasn’t ‘prosecuted’ by the council, but was in fact found guilty in the magistrates court under state law. andy, why don’t you suggest to your good friends in state government that they change the law? after all they’ve been there for ten years. do you think they’ll get around to it soon?

    Posted by ahem | February 12, 2009, 22:43
  15. I’m all for a bit of shaving of the bush

    Posted by Ann Potter | February 13, 2009, 0:07
  16. Ooops! Another stolen image on this blog.

    Oh dear! Sooner or later you’re going to be in the poop Landy!

    Posted by Nicked | February 13, 2009, 0:32
  17. In 1986 the DSE powelltown office[Department of Scorched Earth} wanted to back burn around the town eastern end of the town. They opened up the old fire lines with bulldozers. When time came to light up they had to get permission from Melbourne. The weather conditions in Powelltown were perfect but in Melbourne were not suitable so no permission was given.
    It still has not been cleared. The undergrowth in the forest increases by 2tonnes per hectare per year.

    The beauracrats in Spring street have a lot to answer for.

    We also wanted the local mill to be able to reduce the large trees arond the town. But the tourism people did not want that as it reduces the visible feeling when driving through. That is why all clear felling does not clear all the way to the major highways.

    When a fire comes these highways beome fire traps.

    Posted by hopeless | February 13, 2009, 6:48
  18. If anyone should be prosecuted for removing the trees in a forest is is the DSE in Powelltown.

    They cleared land by bulldozer to make a storage depot. Removed many good trees and also the last remnat of the railway siding of the Powellton Yarra junction railway.
    They also were digging a big hole to bury their rubbish. Locals cpmplained but to no avail. Did the rubbish get taken to the tip or buried under ground.

    Go to eucalyprus drive and look at the destruction of forest. Where are the planning controlls.
    Are these government department above the law. Surely the should have applied to Yarra ranges council for a planning permit.

    Posted by hopeless | February 13, 2009, 6:56
  19. Get real. This fire was a freak event. Yes, this guy’s selfish tree clearance most likely saved his property. But so would cutting down every tree and covering the entire place with concrete. He is no patriot. I know people who have lost lives and property in this fire. The last thing they would want is anti-environment development at-all-cost zealots using their name in vain. They went to the Bush to enjoy its beauty – not destroy it. Let’s keep some perspective.

    Posted by ANON | February 13, 2009, 9:20
  20. There is a difference between cutting down 250 trees and levelling the entire state forest you twat

    Posted by mick | February 13, 2009, 12:32
  21. liam sounds like an arrogant loud mouthed pig. he deserves to have the book thrown at him

    Posted by jeff | February 13, 2009, 14:05
  22. The whole point is that the fire was NOT a freak event! Fires of this severity may happen infrequently but they do happen consistently in Australia!
    So maybe not many bloggers were around in the 1930’s for Black Friday, but plenty were around in the 1980’s for Ash Wednesday and can remember similar patterns.
    Surely the beauty of the bush can be appreciated without actually living in it.

    Posted by Annon Annonski | February 13, 2009, 15:20
  23. How about some give and take. Council has no problem sub dividing land and earning rates.
    Those that love the bush and want to live in it should still be able to have a choice of whether they want to and can cut down enough growth from the immediate vicinity of their homes in proportion to the overall amount of trees on that property. Currently we do not have a choice. Had we been allowed to do this in the first place we may not have lost all that we have in this last week. Hopefully we have learnt and those that can change these policies pursue this and not just sweep it under the carpet and hope everyone forgets.

    Posted by Ann | February 13, 2009, 15:25
  24. To jeff
    I have known Liam for over 25 years .
    and your comment of him being a loud mouthed pig couldn’t be further from the truth.Liam is a very gentle man
    until people like you state such crap.I would love to watch the councilling process by which Liam would use to prevent you from writing the absolute crap you have written.
    mike
    I would be happy to meet you too idiot.

    Posted by mike | February 14, 2009, 10:27
  25. I’m a big supporter of Green issues and I like trees. However, I’m NOT a supporter of government interference in private affairs because government invariably screw it up and make the worst possible decisions.

    The green advocates have to learn that they do no favours for themselves (nor for anyone else) when they push stupid regulations through the power of central authority. Only by careful use of our brains will we advance the environmental cause, not by bandwagons, not by crystal gazing, nor any of the other whacked out goings on that have become the new normal.

    Do some research on DDT that supposedly caused thin eggshells and threatened the eagles (except that all evidence suggests that hunting was what really threatened the eagles). As a result of the anti-DDT bandwagon more people died of malaria (arguable exactly how many more, but certainly not a trivial number) and now the WHO is back to recommending DDT as one of several anti-malaria surface sprays.

    Check out the RoHS pushing lead-free solder in Europe (and by extension, the rest of the world) which is supposed to save people from the bit of lead that can get into their water at the soldered joints between pipes (such a small contamination that it has no effect whatsoever). Now the entire electronic industry is under mandate to abolish lead and you or me or our children could be flying on an aircraft that uses lead-free electronics and is subject to random failure caused by tin whiskers. You can thank the European RoHS when it happens.

    Then I could go into the Greens trying to ban plastic bags and the pointless waste of time that is.

    Now in Australia we have laws where if you plant a row of ten trees, then many years later decide that one of those trees didn’t turn out the way you wanted, you can be a criminal for cutting down one of the trees that you actually planted on your own land. This merely teaches people that they must never plant trees! This sort of idiot legislation is not helping the environment.

    Posted by Tel | February 14, 2009, 22:54
  26. congratulations liam
    for standing up to a crazy blind political correctens of people who make living of scapegoating.
    good on you –

    Posted by frank | February 15, 2009, 19:21
  27. I agree with the need to clear trees from around houses esp in heavy timber country. Reduce junk and fuel sorces Open your eyes people (greens) you are the ones that have causes this Vic problem and the potentual problems that the south west of WA face if something is not done to clean up fuel around peoples houses

    Posted by kate | February 16, 2009, 14:26
  28. So what appears to be the answer to Victoria’s ‘forest fire’ problem is simple…we should all buy a ‘forested’ block of land like Liam Sheahan and then set about denuding it of trees. Soon we will have removed all the native Eucalyptus forest and no Eucalyptus Forest fires will ever again rage across Victoria….
    Yes we should all act like “Smart” Liam Sheahan ….

    Posted by Gary | February 19, 2009, 8:56
  29. Excellent thinking Gary.

    Posted by haha | February 19, 2009, 8:57
  30. I can hardly see how clearing a few (295) trees makes an ounce of difference. There are 1 to 2 million hectares of deforestation in the Amazon each year and, even though there is much talk, nothing is done about it. Only a quarter of that size is the Vic bushfires, most of which will regenerate fairly quickly.
    295 trees for 1 human life is worth doing I say.

    Posted by foul | February 20, 2009, 15:52
  31. looks like he is planting some new trees to replace the ones he chopped down. so what’s wrong?

    Posted by oh look at the picture | February 20, 2009, 16:33
  32. hey mike –
    next time you open your mouth and start threatening free speech, perhaps you could mention how good ol liam actually signed an agreement with the council to do a bit a revegetation and pay councils costs of 2.5K. Liam dishonoured his agreement – thats why he ended up with so much legal hassle. This bloke caused his own misfortune. Why can’t he just tell the truth and say he wanted to knock down the bush for his pony farm. He caused his own misfortune – so we should we give a stuff about a loudmouth like Liam?

    Posted by jeff | February 24, 2009, 19:16
  33. hey mike –
    next time you open your mouth and start threatening free speech, perhaps you could mention how good ol liam actually signed an agreement with the council to do a bit a revegetation and pay councils costs of 2.5K. Liam dishonoured his agreement – thats why he ended up with so much legal hassle. This bloke caused his own misfortune. Why can’t he just tell the truth and say he wanted to knock down the bush for his pony farm. He caused his own misfortune – so we should we give a stuff about a loudmouth like Liam?

    Posted by jeff 2 | February 24, 2009, 19:17
  34. Irregardless of the left wing greenie minorities out there, Liam did the right thing. He provided his property with an asset protection zone and still enjoys the thousands of trees that are now scorched on his property. Asset protection zones or fuel free zones should be a serious consideration of this upcoming royal commission for all of us that live in the bush. My home like Liams still stands because we prepared our home from the onslaught of fire that came from unmanaged lands under the jurisdiction of the state government. Better 100 thousand dollars now than the inconvenience of not having a home or the cost of rebuilding or burying your loved ones. Those that don’t understand what fire can do should not comment. Good on you Liam, its your castle.

    Posted by Andrew | March 12, 2009, 14:55
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