NSW Roads Minister ordered every tree near a highway be cleared after Black Summer bushfires
The NSW Roads Minister ordered his top bureaucrat to clear millions of trees along every highway in NSW even though the agency said it had no authority to do so, it has emerged.
Andrew Constance made the direction in the aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires in a letter to then secretary of Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Rodd Staples.
Mr Staples was terminated last year and received a severance of more than $83,000.
Yesterday, Mr Constance told a budget estimates inquiry that the failure to comply with this instruction was one of the reasons he believed the department needed to go in a “new direction”.
“What’s gone on there is a classic example of what needs to change,” Mr Constance said.
“Because after that event when lives were put at risk … my expectation is we get the trees back from our…