The Victorian Labor Government has refused to extend the domestic firewood collection period despite being aware of the huge shortfall in domestic firewood availability, largely due to its decision to close Victoria’s native timber industry.
In a question to Parliament, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, asked that consideration be given to allow Victorians broader access to the resource, which not only provides heating and cooking for some, but would also support the cleaning up of our forest floor fuel loads in preparation for the hot and dry summer predicted ahead.
Mr Bull said his approach to the Environment Minister was prompted by the high volume of people who contacted his office who were unable to access affordable firewood through commercial contractors that were having to source wood from interstate due to the timber industry decision.
“The domestic firewood collection season fills the gap in the market and provides public access to designated collection areas for households. Under this program, households can access up to two cubic metres of wood per day (16 cubic metres per household per financial year) from our native forests, which also helps reduce fuel loads.
“Opening up additional firewood collection areas and extending the collection period would assist many householders who rely on this resource.
“There are a large number of East Gippsland households reliant on solid fuel heaters as their primary source of heating.
“We need a guarantee from the Minister that access to firewood will be maintained now and into the future, but judging by the response, they clearly had no idea the timber decision had any impact on firewood.
The Victorian Forest Fire Management website states, ‘The Victorian Government is undertaking a review into the management of firewood collection in public forests for domestic purposes.’
“This review must guarantee Victorian household’s access to free firewood in Victoria, with the view to expand availability when commercial supplies dry up,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Nationals’ Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, is concerned about the ongoing supply of firewood for households, in the wake of the early closure of the Victorian timber industry.
Monday, 16 October 2023