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Firewood cutters to be the latest victims of Victorian lawfare

Pic: Victorian National Parks Association

Mum and dad firewood cutters Kate and Dale Tiley have become the latest victims of an environmental group’s green lawfare. Source: The Weekly Times

The Tileys have been told to seek urgent legal advice, as the Wombat Forestcare Group launches a bid to stop them and four other commercial firewood cutters operating in the forest.

Supreme Court Justice Melinda Richards – whose ruling last year led the Andrews Government to bring forward the 2030 phase out of native forest harvesting to 2024 – issued the Wombat Forestcare Group with an order permitting it to join the Tileys to proceedings brought against VicForests.

Mr Tiley said he expected to be served with court papers on Tuesday, to appear before Justice Richards on Thursday, giving him little time to employ and brief a lawyer.

“It’ll be the end of me if I can’t get the wood cut up and dried (this summer),” Mr Tiley said.

“I’ll have to put a bloke off straight away.”

Wombat Forestcare convener Gayle Osborne has previously told The Weekly Times legal action was being taken because VicForests had failed to adequately survey the site for threatened species.

Mr Tiley said they only had a quota of 4000 tonnes, which would hardly make a dent in the massive fuel load of twisted logs and debris that still lay across the forest after storms hit the area in June 2021.

Recent analysis shows at least 600,000 tonnes of fallen trees are spread across 2500ha of the Wombat Forest floor, at densities ranging from 200 to 240 tonnes per hectare, posing a major fire risk to nearby towns and farmers.

“It looks like when you play a game of pick-up sticks out here,” Mr Tiley.