Illegal fire­wood col­lec­tors’ equip­ment seized by DELWP

Mansfield Courier - - WHAT’S ON -

DEPART­MENT of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning’s (DELWP) Op­er­a­tion Chain­saw which has been im­ple­mented state-wide to ad­dress the es­ca­lat­ing prob­lem of the unau­tho­rised re­moval of fire­wood from Vic­to­ria’s public land, will con­tinue.

Un­der DELWP’s op­er­a­tion more than 40 cu­bic me­tres of fire­wood, al­leged to have been re­moved il­le­gally from state for­est, has been seized from a pri­vate prop­erty in Beech­worth last week.

DELWP au­tho­rised of­fi­cers, to­gether with Vic­to­ria Po­lice, ex­e­cuted a search war­rant un­der the For­est Act 1958 on Au­gust 11.

A ute, a hy­draulic l og split­ter, a chain­saw and as­so­ci­ated tim­ber har­vest­ing tools were also seized from the prop­erty.

“It is al­leged that an in­di­vid­ual had been un­law­fully cut­ting down trees and then re­mov­ing the tim­ber from state for­est to take back to the prop­erty to be pro­cessed into fire­wood and sold for per­sonal fi­nan­cial gain,” DELWP oper­a­tions di­rec­tor Tony Long said.

“The ac­tiv­ity of felling trees has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and leads to loss of habi­tat for na­tive fauna that re­lies on the de­vel­op­ment of hol­lows for nest­ing and roost­ing sites.

“Felling trees also poses a

THE course for Targa High Coun­try has now been re­leased along with the re­con­nais­sance notes and there are some ex­cit­ing changes in store for this year’s com­peti­tors to en­sure that the event is al­ways throw­ing up new chal­lenges.

The Targa event will be held across three days through­out the Mans­field dis­trict from Novem­ber 6 to 8.

The long­est stage ever run in Vic­to­ria, and sec­ond only to the mighty Mt Ar­row­smith, will make the Sun­day a day to re­mem­ber as com­peti­tors tackle the mon­ster 39km stage be­tween Jamieson and Eil­don in both di­rec­tions, which will likely de­ter­mine many of the win­ners across all of our com­pe­ti­tions.

Lim­ited spots re­main in the field for the 6th run­ning of Targa High Coun­try so don’t miss out on this fan­tas­tic event, run and won in the true spirit of Targa Tas­ma­nia.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion and en­try, email Alice McKen­zie at [email protected] be­fore it’s too late. public safety risk and is not al­lowed on public land for any rea­son or at any time of the year.

“Op­er­a­tion Chain­saw will con­tinue to tar­get those who un­der­take illegal ac­tiv­i­ties on Vic­to­ria’s land and DELWP au­tho­rised of­fi­cers will ac­tively seek out and in­ves­ti­gate in­stances of illegal com­mer­cial tim­ber har­vest­ing.

“DELWP and Parks Vic­to­ria staff pa­trol forests and take a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to those who are break­ing laws re­lat­ing to the col­lec­tion and sale of fire­wood.

“Peo­ple un­der­tak­ing this type of ac­tiv­ity face the risk of hav­ing all items used in com­mit­ting an of­fence seized and po­ten­tially for­feited to the Crown,” Mr Long said.

“Peo­ple who cut down trees and re­move for­est pro­duce such as fire­wood face a max­i­mum penalty in court of one year im­pris­on­ment or a $7580 fine or both in ad­di­tion to on-the-spot fines of $590 for lesser of­fences such as ex­ceed­ing the daily limit per per­son dur­ing the fire­wood col­lect­ing sea­son.

“Peo­ple buy­ing fire­wood should ask to see a VicForests com­mer­cial fire­wood li­cence be­fore pur­chas­ing i f t hey sus­pect the tim­ber has been sourced from public land.

“If you buy fire­wood from illegal op­er­a­tors you are as­sist­ing them in the dam­age they do to the en­vi­ron­ment and our wildlife.

“Fire­wood col­lec­tion is only per­mit­ted on public land dur­ing des­ig­nated times of the year and from des­ig­nated fire­wood col­lec­tion ar­eas.

“It is not le­gal to sell fire­wood col­lected on public land or to take more than the al­lowed amount.

“The spring fire­wood col­lec­tion pe­riod will com­mence on Septem­ber 1 un­til Novem­ber 30,” Mr Long con­cluded.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity are en­cour­aged to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion of such of­fences to the DELWP Cus­tomer Ser­vice Cen­tre on 136186.

All in­for­ma­tion will be treated as con­fi­den­tial. Last week was Na­tional Sup­port Staff Week and Mans­field Pri­mary School act­ing prin­ci­pal Phil Brown sur­prised the sup­port staff group with an enor­mous cake in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of their work. It was a lovely ges­ture and very much ap­pre­ci­ated by all, said Mark Bus­combe. En­joy­ing morn­ing tea were (from left) An­gela Desmond, An­drea Kir­ley and Lisa Gray, (seated) Tracey Grif­fiths, Joan Watt and Mark Bus­combe (school chap­lain). Ab­sent for the photo was Tina Stewart.

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