Less than one week after the government says it can’t and won’t prosecute anyone over the Yalmy looting, a DSE media release came out saying they will get tough with firewood getters who don’t pay their $7 permit (royalty per tonne). The maximum penalty is one year in jail or $5,000 fine with equipment seized (like chainsaws, trailers etc). This is fair enough – except for the double standard.
Besides the inability of the government to apply any penalties for those who rob us of thousands of tonnes of high quality trees in broad daylight, just look at the hypocrisy on the royalty costs. A tonne of fire wood costs $7. A tonne of good standing trees for woodchips is as low as 11c. That means a fully laden log truck pays half what Jo Blow would pay for a trailer load of wood!
By my calculations the loggers pay the government 63 times less than the public pay (who own these forests) to cut and take a tonne of ‘low quality’ wood. VicForests still has some hard work ahead leveling that playing field.