A 41-year-old man has been convicted and fined for breaching Victorian firewood collection laws within a firewood collection area of Ross Creek State Forest, south-west of Ballarat.
At the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 14 March 2019, the Smythesdale man pleaded guilty to two charges under the Forests Act 1958 relating to cutting and felling a standing tree.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Grampians Regional Manager Environmental Compliance, Grant Allan said “the incidents occurred during May and June 2018. While the Autumn Firewood Season does extend from 1 March to 30 June each year, the felling of any trees for firewood is strictly prohibited.”
“These are serious offences that are regularly prosecuted by DELWP and particularly aggravating since this was not a first-time offence,” Mr Allan said.
“Apart from cutting and removing timber unlawfully, the man was also capitalising on a natural resource for personal gain.
“This type of activity has a significant impact on the environment, which leads to loss of habitat for native fauna that rely on the development of hollows in mature trees for nesting and roosting sites.
“The man was convicted and fined $1500 plus costs of $143.
“Under the Forest Act 1958, those found guilty of firewood collection offences can face fines of up to $8059, and/or a maximum penalty of one-year imprisonment.
“Authorised officers will continue patrolling parks, forests and reserves to ensure people are doing the right thing while collecting their firewood.
“Further, our officers will continue to investigate reports of suspected illegal firewood collection.”
For any more information on firewood collection or to report illegal or suspicious behaviour in public land areas, please contact DELWP on 136 186.