The Nationals are calling for greater access to firewood gathering on public land as commercial supplies dry up and prices sky rocket following Labor fast tracked closure of the native timber industry.
The Labor Government is currently conducting a review into firewood collection on public land in Victoria.
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Land Use and The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said The Nationals want to see more public land available for firewood collection and the season extended to address future supply shortages.
“Many Victorians living in regional and peri urban areas rely on solid fuel heating as their primary source for warming their homes.
“The rising cost of living in Victoria means gas and electricity is unaffordable for many households and solid fuel heaters help to keep household costs down.
“Labor’s closure of the native timber industry has also strangled the commercial firewood industry therefore it’s imperative that Victorians have increased opportunity gather firewood.”
Firewood gathering is restricted to two seasons. Autumn season 1 March to 30 June and Spring Season from 1 September to 30 November.
Maps of collection areas are published of Forest Fire Management’s website annually and are governed by rules under the Forests (Domestic Firewood) Regulations 2022 and Crown Land (Reserves) (Domestic Firewood) Regulations 2022.
Ms Bath the impact of dwindling commercial firewood supplies will not be felt until next winter.
“Legal firewood collection has a positive impact of our state forests, it supports the health of the ecosystem by removing dead undergrowth and reducing fuel loads, albeit on a small scale.
“We have seen Labor dramatically restrict firewood collection access in Central Victoria to certain local government areas – this approach must not be extended into eastern or western Victoria.
“The Nationals are calling on Labor to increase the number of firewood collection areas and better maintain access tracks on public land to meet the community’s need for the fuel source.”