| April 08, 2016

Concern for firewood collection bans

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP is concerned the State Governments plan to ban public firewood collection in state forests will leave country residents out in the cold this winter.

Ms Kealy said she was alarmed to see media reports last week on proposed bans in parts of Victoria with indications the ban would extend across the rest of the state.

“I have had a number of people contact my office to raise concerns about the limited locations permitted for firewood collection across our region and the threat of future firewood bans,” Ms Kealy said.

“Specifically, the Brynterian Reserve near Lubeck has only been opened to firewood collection for a limited two month period which ends this month.

“Many local residents rely on firewood for heating, particularly those outside larger towns. Electric heating is expensive and most don’t have access to natural gas, so firewood is their main source of heating in winter.

“It’s a great part of country life at this time of the year to go out and source firewood.

“Collectors perform a useful job in cleaning up areas of the forest and reducing fuel loads. In appropriate locations, firewood collection poses little or no threat to the environment,” she said.

In 2011, the former Liberal-National State Government ended the 50-year permit system and removed red tape to allow people better access to free firewood on public land.

“Daniel Andrews cold-hearted decision will impact many country people who rely on wood to heat their homes. His government is encouraging residents to switch to Gas or Electric heating sources – a response that proves how out-of-touch this government is with country Victoria,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Victorian Liberal-Nationals Coalition supports country people’s right to collect firewood to heat their homes,” she said.

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