Most times, Junee Shire Council gets things right.
The old rule of thumb is simply to look at our neighbours down south torealise we don’t have a hilariously bad quagmire of silly rules getting in the way of life.
But the new wood policy is an exception.
There are very few people who can afford to stump up a $20 million public liability policy –those who canprobably aren’t out cleaning up fallen trees to heat their homes.
Like many policies, this one has a good objective at heart -to stop folks coming in and cutting down trees without regard for their safety, other people’s safety or the conservation of native habitat.
One of the big problems is council does not have the capacity to enforce this policy with most staff dedicated to completing the organisation’s core business.
Without enforcement of the rules, the policy will be hollow and hold little sway.
But what can be done? As mayor Neil Smith points out thatthe public needs to be the eyes and ears of councilwhen someone is out cutting down treesor harvesting from a prohibited area –they need to know.
These are the reasons why council has a policy to begin with –and at the same time, council should not be punishing people doing the right thing by demanding wood collectors carry public liability insurance.
Fortunately there’s also a chance for locals to havetheir say to councillors and staff about how this policy will affect them.
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