10 August 2023

Wagga man convicted over damage to native trees

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
Wagga Wagga Local Court

Thirty-six-year-old Peter McKenzie fronted Wagga Wagga Local Court and was convicted on charges relating to the damage of native trees around the region. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

A Kooringal man has pleaded guilty to damaging native trees in reserves around the Riverina.

Peter McKenzie fronted Wagga Wagga Local Court on Wednesday (9 August), charged with damaging a travelling stock reserve without authority and three counts of injuring, damaging or disturbing a plant, animal, rock or soil in a public place.

The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to the charges and was convicted by Magistrate Rebecca Hosking, who ordered him to pay $880.

Rural Crime Prevention began an investigation into reports a significant tree that was under observation and monitoring for native species habituation was felled in February this year.

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Police also received reports that trees in reserves around the Riverina were being de-limbed.

Following enquiries, Rural Crime Prevention officers visited a home in Kooringal on 8 June and spoke with McKenzie, who was later issued with a court attendance notice.

Rural Crime officers issued a reminder to the public that tree felling on and collecting wood from travelling stock or Crown land reserves is prohibited. These reserves provide a habitat for native and protected species.

Residents can collect roadside firewood from specific reserves with a permit. For more information and conditions, contact the local council.

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