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  • Firewood fee given the chop
  • By Adam Morton
  • 01/09/2011 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Moses ( 7 articles in 2011 )
The state government cancels fees for removing firewood from public land.
THE Baillieu government has abolished fees for collecting firewood on public land despite expert advice that removing dead trees from forests threatens native bird species.

Environment Minister Ryan Smith said he was making firewood collection easier in state parks by scrapping a $28 a cubic metre charge and permit application process.

"We know firewood is an important source of heating for many Victorians during winter and this new policy approach will make sure it continues to be available," he said.

Critics accused the government of being environmentally irresponsible and putting at risk a growing farm forestry industry.

A Department of Environment and Sustainability scientific review found fallen trees and branches were vital habitat for birds and some threatened reptile species.

It found there were nine times more birds in central Victorian box-ironbark forests when woody debris was left intact, and 19 native bird species were threatened by firewood collection.

The report was removed from a government website yesterday after environment groups issued a press release linking to it.

Victorian National Parks Association spokesman Nick Roberts said scrapping the 53-year-old firewood permit scheme was part of a broader state government attack on the environment, including letting cows into a national park and curtailing wind farm development.


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