Numerous offences over long weekend
Authorised Officers from Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Victoria Police undertook joint agency patrols over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, targeting public land across the Gippsland region.
DEPI Forest Planning Manager, Matt Long said officers patrolled over 3,000 kilometres of forest roads and tracks and spoke to over 650 people, educating and enforcing responsible care of the environment.
“We were disappointed to find numerous offences, including illegal camp fires, off-road driving, cutting and taking firewood from outside a Designated Firewood Collection Area and littering,” Mr Long said.
DEPI Authorised Officers also detected over 40 cases of unlicensed and unregistered trail bike riders.
“As a result of these illegal forest activities, we’ve issued a number of official written warning letters and penalty infringement notices and a number of briefs are being compiled for the more serious offences identified.”
Victoria's forests are managed to provide a broad range of opportunities for recreation and tourism and everyone is encouraged to enjoy those opportunities.
“It’s a shame when a few people behave irresponsibly and illegally and spoil that enjoyment for others,” Mr Long said.
DEPI Authorised Officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with relevant legislation is achieved by informing and educating to ensure the community knows and understands their legal responsibilities and undertake enforcement campaigns to detect and deter illegal behaviour.
“Our officers had plenty of positive feedback from recreational users about the presence of DEPI officers out patrolling over the long weekend.”
“The strong presence of DEPI officers and Victoria Police officers at recreational sites early on Saturday and Sunday morning also deterred bad behaviour, reducing environmental crime in some districts.”
DEPI will continue to conduct compliance operations on a regular basis to enforce unauthorised environmental crime.
If you encounter environmental crime or any suspicious activity that may be of interest to DEPI, please REPORT IT on 136 186.