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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

11 January 2001

FIREWOOD STRATEGY RELEASED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT


Anyone involved in using, collecting or selling firewood is invited to comment on a draft national firewood strategy released by Australia's Environment and Conservation Ministers.

The draft National Approach to Firewood Collection and Use in Australia will be available for public consultation until March 31, 2001.

"Firewood harvesting has an effect on our native woodlands with serious consequences for threatened species," Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill said today.

The draft National Approach proposes a number of ways in which governments can encourage a more sustainable firewood industry.

Proposed strategies include - collecting information needed to target conservation efforts; a public education campaign; a national code of practice for firewood merchants; restricting collection of firewood in areas providing habitat for threatened species; supporting farm forestry; improving the efficiency of firewood use and reducing air pollution.

Senator Hill said Australian householders burned five million tonnes of firewood each year - a volume that exceeded our annual export of hardwood woodchips.

"Many firewood users are unaware of the ecological consequences of collecting firewood, including from old and dead trees. They often see it as just keeping the forest or farm tidy," he said. "The most popular firewood species are River Red Gum, Red Box and Yellow Box, Ironbark and Jarrah.

"I encourage all firewood users, particularly those involved in harvesting and selling it, to read the draft approach and have input to the final strategy."

CSIRO estimates that over 80 percent of firewood is collected from private property, with much of this collected by landholders for their own use.

The draft National Approach to Firewood Collection and Use in Australia is available by ringing 1800 803 772 or email ciu@environment.gov.au . It can be downloaded from www.ea.gov.au/anzecc and www.ea.gov.au/firewood

January 11, 2001

Contacts:
Belinda Huppatz (Senator Hill): 08 82377920 or 0419 258364
Max Kitchell, Environment Australia, 02 6274 2345

Commonwealth of Australia