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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

FIREWOOD COLLECTION FIASCO SET TO CONTINUE

Maree Edwards MP, State Member for Bendigo West, called on the Liberal National Coalition Government in Parliament yesterday, to once and for all clear up confusion and abuse that their legislation, the Forest Amendment Bill 2012, has caused in our State Forests.

The legislation introduced by Environment Minister Ryan Smith last year removed the permit system for firewood collection.

“This Friday the 8th March, marks the start of the firewood collection season in Victoria,” Ms Edwards said.

“The Liberal National Government was warned at the time that the new system was confusing and open to abuse - and that is just what we saw across regional victoria.”

“As we enter the new season there will continue to be confusion and abuse of the firewood collection regulations.”

“We already know that in the Barmah forest regulations have been changed to limit firewood collection to local people who have identification.”

“This is because local communities across regional Victoria are very concerned with the effect this legislation has had and in particularly the effect on those who rely on wood for heating,” said Ms Edwards.

“It is foreseeable that these people will be hit hard again this year as out-of-towners and commercial operators travel to regional areas for wood collection – in many cases illegally.”

“In Bendigo there are less DPI staff to cover an area that goes from Heathcote to Rushworth, right across the Bendigo region to Gunbower, to the Pyrenees, Maryborough and Castlemaine.”

“The National Party members in this house who supported this legislative change should hang their heads in shame because people in regional areas are being swindled out of firewood for their own domestic use while rogue firewood collectors from the city are rorting the system and making huge profits.”

“This policy, like many the Liberal National government have introduced, is flawed, was done without proper consultation and without consideration of the consequences.”

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