The Coalition Government has - from today - abolished the need for permits for collection of firewood on public land, making it easier and more affordable for those who rely on this resource for heating.
State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, said the abolition of permits was welcomed, as apart from making collection more affordable, it was also more convenient.
“On top of the cost factor, there were situations where those who wanted to collect firewood would have to drive to a certain location to obtain a permit and then often travel many miles in a different direction for collection.
“This reduces the burden of red tape put in place under the previous government and is a vastly improved system on what was previously in place. It makes it easier and cheaper for the community to access an annual supply of firewood,” Mr Bull said.
Minister for Environment, Ryan Smith, said “we know firewood is an important source of heating for many Victorians during winter and this new policy approach will make sure that it continues to be available.”
He said the government had considered more collection times outside of spring and autumn.
“After carefully weighing the options and taking into account public feedback, we have decided to maintain existing collection times,” Mr Smith said.
“The threat of bushfires over summer and the risk of damaging forest access tracks during wet weather in winter were key factors in the decision to maintain current collection times.
“Residents can continue to collect firewood for domestic use during autumn and spring, between March 1 and June 30 and 1 September and November 30.
“This approach will make the rules consistent wherever you are in Victoria and reduce safety and environmental risks,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Smith said firewood collected without a permit could not be sold and there was a cap on the amount each household could collect, particularly in areas where firewood was limited.
Designated firewood collection areas and seasons, with no permit requirements, will come into effect on September 1, 2011 – the start of the spring collection season.