Firewood collection would fast-track storm clean-up

Rules on roadside firewood collection must be changed to allow Victorians to be part of clean-up efforts from last week’s storms, while ensuring a valuable resource doesn’t go to waste.

About 17,500 homes and businesses remain without power today, six days since severe storms tore through much of the state, tragically claiming the lives of two Victorians.

The work of our emergency services volunteers and staff to respond to thousands of calls for help across the state saved lives and protected property and now supports our communities in the recovery phase.

The clean-up is expected to take months and communities are calling for common sense solutions to fast-track recovery efforts.

Hundreds of uprooted trees still block access to homes and in state forests, with locals calling for roadside firewood collection rules to be changed to allow local people to lead the clean-up while making use of a resource that will otherwise go to waste.

Current rules prevent firewood collection along VicRoads managed roads, while permits can be obtained for council-managed roads. The autumn firewood collection season will close on June 30.

Comment attributable to Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh

These storms wreaked devastation across our state, but it was heartening yesterday to hear from Gippsland and Latrobe Valley locals about how they’re helping each other get back on their feet.

My thoughts will continue to be with the families of the two Victorians who lost their lives in these devastating conditions. My thanks also goes to our emergency services volunteers and staff who have gone above and beyond to save lives and protect our communities.

The clean-up efforts will be long, with homes lost or damaged, community facilities destroyed and many roads still blocked by fallen trees and debris.

We must make sure local people have the tools to support each other, and their community, with recovery.

Thousands of trees were uprooted in the severe weather. It will take months to properly restore access if we don’t put common sense rules in place to support the clean-up, while also making sure a valuable resource doesn’t go to waste.

The Labor Government must listen to the calls of local people by temporarily changing the rules to allow fallen logs to be collected for firewood.

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