Obviously those working in the NSW Environment Office live in the comparative warmth of Sydney (and sitting in an airconditioned building at the department paid by the grateful taxpayer) and do not experience winter life in much of NSW. From an article in today’s Australian
In an apparent bid to reduce the reliance of local residents on red gum firewood — three-quarters of homes rely on wood heating alone as the district has no natural gas supply — pensioners were advised wearing more clothes and opening the curtains would reduce power costs and “keep them cosy”. The offer of an “energy saving” kit was also made: two hot water bottles, a low-energy light bulb, some draught-preventing foam tape and two “snake” doorstoppers.
Well that’s not going to help much if it’s a frosty minus 5 outside.
Let’s face it. Government is and always has been the problem. We are restricted from free speech by government. We face expensive and unreliable power by government policies. We go to war because of government. We can’t access dead wood in a forest because of government (or more particularly, by the dead wood in government putting out edicts).
Here is the article
NSW pensioner Bob Starkey is angry, insulted — and cold.
After 44 years of hard work, Mr Starkey, 68 — who lives near the junction of the Murray and Edwards Rivers at Mathoura in southern NSW — was looking forward to a blissful retirement.
But now Mr Starkey worries how he and his wife will survive the cold Riverina winters ahead. Firewood lies at the heart of Mr Sharkey’s fears.
River red gums rise from the banks of the Gulpa Creek just in front of his home, but Mr Sharkey is no longer allowed to gather the plentiful dead wood littering the forest floor to fuel his wood heater, his only source of warmth.
The Millewa state forest around Mathoura and Moama with its colossal red gum forests was converted into the Murray Valley National Park seven years ago — in an unsuccessful NSW Labor government deal with the Greens to hang on to power — with Mathoura locals such as Mr Starkey requiring permits to collect firewood ever since.
A crackdown by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has further restricted available wood to timber thinned from the forests for ecological benefit, piled in designated-only areas.
Once it runs out, firewood may no longer be available at all, the NSW Environment Office has warned permit holders.
“Here I am in 2017 with a red gum forest 200m from my place and I’m not allowed to get any of the dead wood that is rotting there on the floor in piles to keep my wife and grandkids warm,” Mr Sharkey said yesterday, as a heavy frost lay on his lawn and the temperature fell to -1C.
“Now they are saying that soon no wood will be available at all even if you have a permit; it’s a big worry — am I going to end up with a cold wood heater, no wood and having to sit by the window to try and catch a bit of winter sun; is that what Australia has become?”
The final offence for Mr Sharkey came with a letter sent by the NSW Environment Office to all locals who have previously applied for wood collection permits, advising them of the “Stay Warm, Stay Comfortable Program”.
In an apparent bid to reduce the reliance of local residents on red gum firewood — three-quarters of homes rely on wood heating alone as the district has no natural gas supply — pensioners were advised wearing more clothes and opening the curtains would reduce power costs and “keep them cosy”. The offer of an “energy saving” kit was also made: two hot water bottles, a low-energy light bulb, some draught-preventing foam tape and two “snake” doorstoppers. “It’s insulting … How do think we’ve kept warm up to now — and the Aborigines before us?” Mr Starkey said.
Local Mathoura sawmiller Chris Crump has enough timber too small to turn into valuable sawlogs to spare — and sells it for about $90 a tonne — but can make no sense of what has happened to his local district where state-owned “working” red gum forests used to add hundreds of jobs and $86 million a year to the economy. “It’s bureaucracy gone mad; the forests are not being properly managed and the advice of those who have lived and breathed the forests for generations is being ignored,” he said.