$5500 fines for illegal firewood gatherers
PEOPLE considering travelling stock reserves (TSRs) for firewood collection are warned it could cost them hefty fines as Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) rangers crack down on illegal activities on the routes.
Senior ranger with the Lachlan LHPA, Craig Ridley, says two more individuals were fined in the last three weeks for cutting down trees on TSRs for firewood.
“The maximum fine for an illegal activity on a TSR is $5500,” he says.
“This reflects the importance of TSRs in the community – they have been an integral part of rural life in Australia for over 150 years, and more recently their value for recreational and public activities is being recognised.
“The grazing industry is still dependent on these reserves, mostly as supplementary grazing areas in times of drought, bushfire and flood.
“Other community uses include recreational activities, such as walking, fishing, horse riding, bird watching, or for apiary sites and conservation.”
Mr Ridley says many people are unaware that TSRs are important remnants of the natural environment and provide habitat for various species of native fauna and flora.
“Often TSRs provide habitat for protected species listed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and for threatened species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 – for example, fallen or dead timber is often the habitat for birds or lizards,” he says.
“The simple act of taking firewood, or any other material, from a TSR can have a negative impact on these valuable community resources and threaten their sustainability.”
Mr Ridley says certain activities on TSRs require a permit and if people are unsure whether they need a permit, it’s best to check with the Lachlan LHPA office first.
“Rangers do conduct random inspections of TSRs to deter and check for illegal uses,” says Mr Ridley.
“We also encourage the public to report all illegal activity immediately.”
TSRs are parcels of Crown land reserved under legislation for use by travelling stock. LHPAs manage more than 500,000ha of TSRs in New South Wales, with 50,000ha being managed by the Lachlan LHPA.