A re-opening of the domestic firewood collection season has been requested by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
He has written to the Minister outlining the present shortage of firewood supply, for many in our community, their sole source of heating this winter.
Mr Bull said there was a range of factors causing the shortage, the most profound being the cessation of the timber industry due to legal action.
“This has restricted access to commercial supplies for the many residents who rely on these providers. As a result, commercial operators who can get access to timber are doing so through other avenues, with a number obtaining supply from New South Wales. Our commercial contractors need more support,” Mr Bull said.
“This has driven up costs considerably, putting the resource financially out of reach for even those who can access a supply.
“With many senior residents relying on solid fuel heating, we are hearing of an increasing number of cases where they are shivering through the nights due to firewood either not being accessible at all or being too costly to purchase.
“For those who have an alternate power heating source, electricity prices are making it unaffordable, so pensioners and low-income households are not using this alternative.
“Public firewood collection is closed in winter seasonally due to concerns over damage being caused, but this year has been unseasonably dry in East Gippsland and re-opening the season would provide a solution for many in this predicament.”
Mr Bull said there was precedent for this as seasons have been extended in the past in dry winter periods.