Brown Mountain logging coupes illegal

Greens applaud landmark forest ruling

In a David vs Goliath battle, grassroots group Environment East Gippsland took on VicForests and won yesterday.  The landmark decision in the Supreme Court found that logging in the established coupes on Brown Mountain was to halt immediately while endangered species such as the long footed potoroo are present.  In his judgement, Justice Osbourne ruled that no further logging take place at all on Brown Mountain until surveys adequately ensure that no threatened fauna is present in other areas that might be scheduled for future timber getting.

Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland said the ruling was a significant win that would force the state government to abide by its own laws.  "It looks like the Government has to go in and look for these endangered animals unless they want to end up in another court case."

Responsibility for fauna surveys rests with VicForests and ultimately the Department of Sustainability and Environment, who have trained staff to assess the presence of rare and endangered species.  However, where their surveyors found no evidence of threatened fauna, local environmentalists and surveyors using their own equipment filmed long footed potoroos active deep within the area scheduled for logging.

“Environmentalists are being forced to do the work of the department.” Greg Barber said in the Parliament today.

The decision is being hailed around Australia as offering hope for other threatened wilderness.  “This is a win for the nation.”, said Bob Brown as he offered his congratulations on the courthouse steps yesterday. ''This is a green letter day for the forests, for endangered species and for the 80 per cent of Australians who want the destruction of our wild forests [with] their carbon stores and their magnificent biodiversity ended,''

The success of the ruling was celebrated on the steps of Parliament House by Environment East Gippsland and their supporters today.  And some monkeys with chainsaws.  Greens Parliamentarians and members joined wholeheartedly in congratulating the group and will continue to support the work of grassroots environmentalists in the Parliament.


Read the ruling as handed down yesterday in the Supreme Court

Check out the website of Environment East Gippsland who brought the case against VicForests

Check out how this story was covered by The Age and ABC Online




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