The Nationals Gippsland South Families Parliament

Labor must axe firewood ban

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has called on the Melbourne Labor Government to rule out any ban on public firewood collection in state forests.

Mr O’Brien said he was alarmed to see media reports this week on proposed bans in parts of northern Victoria with indications the ban would be extend across the rest of the state.

“I have had a number of people contact me this week raising their concerns about a threatened firewood ban.

“There is absolutely no need for a ban on firewood collection in state forests in Gippsland. Indeed the opposite is true. Many residents including those in my electorate of Gippsland South rely on firewood for heating, particularly those outside the main towns. Electric heating is expensive and most don’t have access to natural gas so firewood is their main source of heating in winter,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The reality is that many pensioners can only afford fire to keep them warm in winter and a ban would hurt those people the most.”

Mr O’Brien said Gippsland was well-resourced with accessible forests that provide firewood for the community.

“It’s a great part of country life at this time of the year to go out and source firewood for the winter. Indeed firewood collectors actually perform a useful job in cleaning up areas of the forest and reducing fuel loads. In appropriate locations, firewood collection poses little or no threat to the environment,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This sounds like green ideology gone mad and Melbourne Labor must rule out any ban on public firewood collection in Gippsland now and in the future.

“I am very concerned that Labor is pandering to a green minority in the city and not considering the practical needs of country Victoria. I will not accept any wholesale shutdown of firewood collection in Gippsland.”

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