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Man faces firewood charges

A man will face court over charges of taking firewood illegally. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

A man from southern NSW has been charged with illegal firewood collecting and habitat destruction at Lake Moodemere, near Rutherglen.

The man faces 12 charges under the Forest Act, Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act and Wildlife Regulations.

The man is set to face Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on July 5. The most serious offence carries a fine of up to $9087 and/or one-year-imprisonment.

“Conservation Regulator authorised officers observed the man in the Moodemere Conservation Reserve while undertaking patrols as part of Operation River Gum in May last year,” Hume Conservation Regulator regional manager Greg Chant said.

“Operation River Gum is a joint operation between the Conservation Regulator, Forest Fire Management Victoria and Parks Victoria to address illegal firewood removal from vulnerable ecosystems along the Murray and Ovens River corridors,” Mr Chant said.

“We want to remind the public that firewood can only be taken from designated collection areas during approved times and cannot be sold.

“We are actively patrolling many of these areas where firewood is being harvested illegally.

“Anyone found cutting down trees or removing firewood outside of firewood collection areas are taking the risk of having not only their chainsaws and trailers seized, but are also risking having their vehicles seized and potentially forfeited to the Crown.

“The illegal removal of native vegetation is devastating for biodiversity.

“Habitat loss has a serious impact on iconic native species that rely on our forests to survive, such as the powerful owl, south-eastern red-tailed black cockatoo, greater glider and many others.”

In Victoria, it is illegal to remove or destroy vegetation on public land without authorisation.