Forests Amendment Act 2012
The Forests Amendment Act 2012 creates clear, legislatively defined rules for collecting domestic firewood without a permit from State forest and those parks where collection is allowed.
The legislation does not change the approach to firewood collection which has been widely publicised since September 2011 but means that the rules, including the where, when, how and how much firewood can be collected, will be clearly defined in legislation.
You may only collect firewood for personal use from fallen or felled trees within a designated firewood collection area during a firewood collection season.
The amount of firewood that an individual can collect remains unchanged at 2 cubic metres per person per day.
The legislation introduces a maximum household firewood collection limit of 16 cubic metres each financial year. A lower regional household limit may be set in a part of the state if firewood is limited (a household would still be able to collect elsewhere to make up the 16 cubic metres). Also, if firewood is limited in a particular part of the state, the legislation will enable particular firewood collection areas to be available only to those residing in that area.
The legislation also introduces a range of offences and penalties for not complying with the rules for firewood collection on public land.
In summary, the Act:
- abolishes the need for a domestic firewood permit
- establishes two firewood collection seasons in each financial year
- establishes a process for designating firewood collection areas in State forest and those regional parks where firewood collection is currently allowed
- provides the flexibility to ensure that firewood supply can be managed over the long-term and local needs and unforeseen circumstances are able to be dealt with
- creates a series of offences aimed at encouraging appropriate collecting behaviour; deterring illegal commercial firewood collection; and providing checks and balances to ensure that firewood collection is sustainable into the future and is undertaken in a socially and environmentally responsible manner
- enables a person who is unable to collect firewood for themselves to nominate another person to do so on their behalf.
Under the rules of the scheme, a person, or someone acting on their behalf, may only:
- collect firewood from designated firewood collection areas
- collect firewood during a firewood collection season
- collect fallen timber, and cannot fell, cut or otherwise damage standing trees or shrubs (living or dead)
- collect wood which is not hollow or growing moss or fungi
- collect firewood for domestic use and must not sell that wood
- collect up to two cubic metres of firewood per day
- collect a maximum of 16 cubic metres of firewood per financial year per household, or, in a particular region, a lesser amount from areas in that region if specified by the Secretary to the Department of Sustainability and Environment for that year.
The Act is complemented by two sets of regulations:
- Forest (Domestic Firewood) Regulations 2012
- Crown Land (Reserves) (Domestic Firewood) Regulations 2012
The Act and Regulations commence on 1 September 2012.
Where to view the Act and Regulation
The Act and Regulations may be viewed on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website (Parliamentary Documents - Bills).