Local Land Services issue warning

Photo: Walcha News.
Photo: Walcha News.

Gunnedah residents have been warned that collecting wood from Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) is illegal.

North West Local Land Services TSR manager Gerard O’Connor said illegal firewood collection is a widespread issue and hefty fines apply to anyone caught removing timber on the TSR network.

“They don’t muck around with it. There’s not much dead timber about the place now,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I have warned off quite a few people over the years.

“They don’t discriminate, they will take it wherever it lay.

“If we catch offenders there through the week, we can have a chat to them and I advise our staff to call the police for them to check for safety measures.

“Unfortunately most of the time it occurs on weekends.

“It is an illegal activity and they would be subject to a $350 fine, or if they were serial offenders we certainly would issue an on the spot infringement notice,” he said.

“We will take action.”

Mr O’Connor said North West Local Land Services do not issue firewood permits to collect from the TSR network, including roadside reserves.

“We are a natural resource management organisation and fallen dead timber and standing timber is habitat for native fauna,” he said.

“And the other issue is if we were to issue a permit, we would need to ensure that person is qualified and competent to cut fire wood and that is hard to monitor.”

Fines of up to $5,500 can apply to people caught carrying out illegal activity on TSRs under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

Making a note of information such as registration numbers, descriptions, locations and dates can provide valuable assistance in the prosecution of offenders.

TSRs provide pasture reserves for travelling or grazing stock and can be beneficial in times of drought, bushfire or flood. They are also used for public recreation, apiary sites and for conservation.

The public are asked to report any illegal activity to Local Land Services on 1300 795 299, or to contact their local police station.