VIC Sell Fire Wood on Private Property - Legal under Property Law?

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Keith Joy

21 August 2014
Hello, I was just wanted to know if it was legal under Property Law to sell firewood from a private property, not a registered company?

Tim W

LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
28 April 2014
I am a lawyer in NSW, not Victoria, so factor that in when deciding how much notice to take of what I say.
Bear in mind also that I don't know where you are, so don't assume that everything below applies, or doesn't,
in the place where you are.

Hello, I was just wanted to know if it was legal to sell firewood from a private property, not a registered company?
As a general perspective, there are two things in play.
  1. Operating a business (any kind) at that place; and
  2. Selling wood as the thing that business does
In terms of item (1)...
Does Council have rules about home based businesses?
If so, are you fully in compliance with that regime - such as scale of business, zoning, restrictions on trading hours, rules about noise (eg of saws, splitters, or just the noise of handling), rules about vehicle traffic (such as weight limits on roads) etc etc?
That you are unincorporated is irrelevant - Council may view you as sole trader, and it would be a matter for you to prove that you were not.

In terms of item (2)...
Is the wood grown on your land?
Or is it trading stock you have bought in (just like any shopkeeper might)?

If the former, then is it natural grown/ native wood, or is it a crop,
like, say, pine trees grown for Christmas?
Is it naturally fallen wood that you have gathered, or is it harvested/ felled-by-the-hand-of-man?
Thing is, council may have a Tree Preservation regime - which may include rules about minimum and maximum sizes you can cut without approval, and which may vary depending on what species of tree it is.
Local land authorities might also have rules about how much you can clear (eg habitat preservation, canopy preservation, or erosion control, terrain stability, proximity to riverbank).

And if the latter (that is, you buy-in the wood and on-sell it, rather than cut it yourself)...
Are you WHS complaint?
For example - are your chainsaw users formally qualified?
Are you (or your workers) trained in manual handling methods?
If there is a "ticket" for the motorised splitter, does somebody have one?
Do you have a safe power supply to any electric machinery?

And do you have insurance cover for when a customer
(or a worker, even you) slips, trips, falls, hurts her/himelf
while handling the wood (eg when loading a trailer)?