Firewood supplies are under pressure this winter with commercial and domestic firewood harvesting both impacted by supply restrictions.
Speaking in State Parliament today, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use, Melina Bath said the suspension of the native timber industry due to third party court injunctions is having a detrimental effect on commercial firewood supplies across eastern Victoria.
“Commercial firewood is a by-product of the timber industry and the Andrews Government’s inaction is impacting supply.
“Combined with a reduction in the number of domestic firewood collection areas this autumn, consumers may struggle to source adequate supply this winter.
“In parliament I called on the Minister for Agriculture to guarantee adequate firewood supplies.
“For country Victorians and those living on the metro/regional fringe, woodfires are an efficient and low-cost way to heat homes.
“With the news that energy prices for Victorian households are set to soar by 30 per cent next financial year, woodfire heaters remain a necessity to keep families warm over winter months.”
Ms Bath said while many locals anticipated the opening of firewood season, she was concerned about accessibility for those without four wheeled drive vehicles.
“Looking at the department’s map there appears to be a reduction in the number of collection areas, with many designated areas 4WD tracks only.
“Much more must be done to maintain and improve access roads on public land so people of all ages and abilities can access firewood.
“Public firewood collection assists in the removal of fallen branches and trees that would otherwise become a dangerous fuel source during fire season.
“Opening up more areas for firewood collection is a good management strategy for public land which is supported by The Nationals.”
The autumn firewood collection season opened at the beginning of March and is restricted to two cubic metre per day per person and 16 cubic metres per household per year.
Individuals can also collect firewood from designated areas on behalf of family members or neighbours who are unable to collect themselves.
Ms Bath said she recommends that households start their firewood collection early.
“With a limited commercial supply and less access to gathering firewood, it’s important to begin the preparation for winter early while the weather is still mild and access tracks dry.”
More information on domestic firewood collection locations and regulations, can be found online at https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/find-a-firewood-collection-area