A 56 year-old Woodend man was fined $750, without conviction, and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty at the Castlemaine Magistrates Court on Monday 22 January for illegally cutting timber in the Cobaw State Forest on 29 October 2016.

DELWP Forest and Wildlife Officer, Phuong Tran, said DELWP officers were undertaking a forest patrol when they found two men cutting up fallen trees and loading the timber in their trailers.

“They were cutting the fallen trees into foot long blocks which suggests they were being cut for firewood,” Ms Tran said.

“The Cobaw State Forest is classified as a Special Protection Zone, and under the Forests Act 1958, cutting and removal of timber is not allowed.  There are no designated firewood collection areas in the Cobaw State Forest.

“Both men were issued an on-the-spot infringement notice of $622 each.  

“One of the men disputed the fine and requested an internal review of the infringement notice.

“A review of the infringement notice was conducted which found there was no reason to overturn the decision of the issuing officer.  Following the review, DELWP confirmed the fine and the man elected to have the matter heard in court.

“Subsequently the matter was brought in front of the Magistrates’ Court and the man was fined, without conviction and ordered to pay DELWP’s costs.”

The 2018 Autumn domestic firewood collection season will run from Thursday 1 March until Thursday 31 May.  

For firewood collection rules and regulations, go to www.ffm.vic.gov.au/firewood/firewood-collection-rules

If anyone sees suspicious behaviour in state forests, parks or reserves please contact DELWP at 136 186.  Callers can choose to remain anonymous.