Asked: 30 November 2021Question on Notice
Ms Sheed to ask the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change — With reference to illegal timber logging in Shepparton Regional Park and Lower Goulburn National Park, Shepparton:
(1) How many incident reports of illegal timber harvesting has the Department of Environment, Land and Water logged for Shepparton Regional Park and Lower Goulburn National Park, in the past two years.
(2) How many times has the Department of Environment, Land and Water successfully prosecuted illegal timber harvesters in Shepparton Regional Park and the Lower Goulburn National Park, in the past two years.
Answered: 7 February 2022
Parks Victoria is the land manager responsible for Shepparton Regional Park and the Lower Goulburn National Park. In the past two years there have been 244 information reports of illegal timber harvesting activities across the two parks.
In the last two years five individuals have been successfully prosecuted for illegal timber harvesting activities within the Lower Goulburn National Park. One individual was fined $7,500 for illegal removal of firewood and damage to wildlife habitat and another was recently sentenced to 12 months jail with a non-parole period of six months. Items used by the offender as part of his unlawful timber harvesting operations were forfeited to the Crown. There have been no prosecutions conducted for illegal timber harvesting activities within the Shepparton Regional Park.
In March 2021 the Conservation Regulator, in collaboration with Parks Victoria, initiated Operation River Gum, targeting illegal firewood removal and associated activities within Shepparton Regional Park and Lower Goulburn National Park.
As a result of this targeted compliance operation, seven prosecution briefs are being prepared against 11 individuals. Four vehicles, five chainsaws, two trailers, two mobile phones and over five cubic metres of red gum firewood have been seized. Approximately 10 infringement notices have also been issued. It is expected these prosecutions will be heard in the Shepparton Magistrates Court in mid-2022.
Operation River Gum will continue to be led by the Conservation Regulator with support from Parks Victoria until the end of 2022.
Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Solar Homes