Regulatory Impact Statement: National Approach to Firewood Collection and Use in Australia

Environment Australia, 2001

Strategy 3. Implement Market Mechanisms

The objective of this strategy is to introduce a national charter of environmental and market mechanisms to encourage a more sustainable firewood industry. Proposed actions include:

  • Review the ACT firewood licensing system;
  • Introduce a national Charter of Environmental Care for the firewood Industry that incorporates an accreditation system for commercial suppliers; and
  • Maintain crown land royalty charges at full recovery levels through frequent review of State forest royalty rates.

A qualitative assessment of potential impacts of these actions on Governments, firewood collectors, merchants, and consumers and environmental values follows:

Action

Review the ACT firewood accreditation and certification system.

Impact on Government

  • Government will bear the cost of the review. Some scepticism about its applicability to the rest of Australia (see consultation).

Impact on Collectors

  • None directly

Impact on Merchants

  • None directly

Impact on Consumers

  • None directly

Impact on Environment

  • None directly

Action

Introduce a voluntary national charter of environmental care for the Firewood Industry that incorporates an accreditation system for commercial suppliers.

Impact on Government

  • Prepare draft charter and consult with industry and other stakeholders. Resource implications for managing the process and developing an independent accreditation system. Associated public awareness and education campaign.

Impact on Collectors

  • The range of sources firewood can be collected from for sale through participating commercial merchants will narrow, which may have some impacts on small-scale collectors that are unable to alter their source of supply. This may also encourage some collectors to be less transparent about the source of their firewood.

Impact on Merchants

  • Firewood merchants who choose to participate will bear the bulk of the costs and reap the benefits associated with a national charter. Those who want to comply may have to alter some of their business practices. Administrative costs associated with compliance will also be borne by merchants.
  • There will be market advantage to merchants that can provide environmentally friendly firewood.

Impact on Consumers

  • Greater choice of more environmentally friendly timbers. Consumers who choose to buy eco-friendly firewood may pay more. If supplies of unsustainably harvested wood are no longer available in particular areas, all consumers may pay extra. Some decline in supply of some preferred woods such as box.

Impact on Environment

  • Some pressure relieved on woodland remnants.

Action

Maintain crown land royalty charges at full recovery levels through frequent review of State Forest royalty rates.

Impact on Government

  • Will recover full costs of production in State Forests.

Impact on Collectors

  • Collectors and commercial cutters of firewood in State Forests may pay more over time. However, the sale of firewood from state forests may reduce costs over time.

Impact on Merchants

  • Merchants who source firewood from State Forests may pay more over time.

Impact on Consumers

  • Consumers of firewood from State Forests may pay more for firewood.

Impact on Environment

  • May provide some incentive to establish multipurpose plantations to reduce pressure on woodlands.