The Northern Forestry Group voiced its concerns over the increase in commercial merchants raiding forest areas that have been set aside for private firewood collection. This has included the chopping down of trees in protected zones and then selling these as firewood at less than the cost price asked by wood growers.
In the past the state government had issued paid permits for personal firewood collection but has since scrapped that idea. Scrapping the system has meant that no system is in place to check who is cutting down the wood.
Plantation growers of timber for firewood are concerned that as an emerging industry they are being disadvantaged by this illegal harvesting saving that it is not a small amount that is being taken out but large amounts – truck loads.