Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has secured welfare support for Barmah residents left in the cold following a ban on firewood collection in the Barmah Forest.
Ms Sheed met with Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning staff on Wednesday to discuss how the Victorian Government could help Barmah residents transition to an alternative fuel source.
“I met with the minister last month, and since our meeting, she has helped secure a team of outreach workers from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Moira Shire and other agencies, to ensure the welfare of Barmah residents is prioritised,” she said.
“DELWP staff said that the Barmah community would be prioritised for support by outreach staff to not only help residents secure up to $900 in immediate grants but also help them gain future grants of up to $1,000 for transitioning to an electricity system.
“I understand the hardship this firewood ban has imposed on the Barmah community and will be watching closely to ensure the Victorian Government provides these residents with every support necessary from the squad of support workers in the coming months.
“In our meeting, we discussed the possibility of permits with the minister, but we were told by DELWP staff that there was no longer suitable firewood available at Barmah Forest to justify the introduction of such a permit.
“The minister acknowledged that the transition from free firewood use to an electric system is a huge change for Barmah residents and assured me that their essential needs would be prioritised by the State Government.”
Media contact: Elaine Cooney 0447 820 466│firstname.lastname@example.org