Court orders halt to logging
A Federal Court ruling has ordered a halt to logging in 34 areas across Victoria’s Central Highlands. Friends of Leadbeaters Possum (FLP) challenged VicForests exemption from Federal environment protection law during the hearing and called for a interim injunction. Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) filed the application on behalf of FLP.
The case being brought by FLP will challenge whether logging in endangered species habitat can continue to have a special exemption from Federal environmental protection law.
“Following court proceedings on 17 November, VicForests has consented to delay harvesting in four operations until a further hearing can be held on 14 and 15 December which will provide the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum an opportunity to put its case in more detail,” said Nathan Trushell, VicForests CEO.
“These four operations are part of 34 coupes we have agreed to suspend until the further hearing.
“We believe our operations are in accordance with the Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs)
“We look forward to the court clarifying obligations in regards to this.
“We are keen to see the legal matter resolved as quickly as possible to minimise disruption of timber supply to local mills and to important regional jobs,” said Mr Trushell.
Mr Trushell said that the native timber industry in the Central Highlands contributes more than $570 Million in economic activity each year and employs more than two thousand people.
VicForests is a highly regulated organisation and undergoes regular audits in all areas of it operations. VicForests is certified by the Australian Forestry Standard which is endorsed by the world’s largest forest certification scheme, PEFC.
■ Nathan Trushell.