The Federal Court delivered final orders for an historic win for Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum that protects the forests from logging!
Although the court reached its conclusion in this case in May, it had not yet decided how the judgement would apply practically.
Now Justice Mortimer’s orders grant final injunctions to protect the 66 areas of forest home to the threatened Greater Glider and critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum subject to the case.
The judge also made formal declarations of unlawful logging by VicForests in those 66 areas and ordered VicForests pay Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum’s costs of running the case.
This is huge and sets a national precedent!
This case will have national implications for species threatened by logging under Regional Forest Agreements across the country which will now face much greater scrutiny.
Bob Brown Foundation Follows
The Bob Brown Foundation launched has a similar Federal Court case, challenging logging under Regional Forest Agreements in Tasmania’s forests.
We echo the sentiments of our client, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum below:
“We are immensely grateful to the public for the donations that have enabled us to pay the costs of mounting a case on this scale and to all those who have worked on the case and supported us in so many ways on this long and challenging journey.
And to the surveying team from WOTCH and the expert witnesses who provided an unassailable body of detailed evidence.”
This is the first time the Federal Court has granted a final injunction to prevent logging of threatened wildlife habitat and the first time Victoria’s logging industry – the largest in Australia – has been held to account under federal environment law for its devastating impacts on endangered wildlife.
The outcome of this case demonstrates that properly enforcing our environment laws is critical to stem the loss of wildlife in this country.
We are so thrilled that the Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum in these areas of forest can rest easy for now – protecting these areas of habitat is vital to their recovery.
We hope this is a message to all industry and governments across the country that if they flout the law at the expense of our threatened wildlife, the community will hold them to account in court.
Recently the Victorian State logging agency VicForests lodged an appeal against the possum win, with the Full Bench of the Federal Court. While welcoming the appeal as a mechanism to provide certainty for the timber industry, the Federal Forestry Minister Jonathan Duniam suggested that if VicForests don’t win the appeal the government “will take any necessary actions that may be appropriate to provide long term certainty into the future.”
Unfortunately the Federal Government doesn’t seem as keen to provide certainty for the long-term survival of threatened species like the koala.
At the end of the last parliamentary sitting they gagged debate and rammed through a re-write of some of Tony Abbott’s legislation, designed to hand responsibility for threatened species back to the States. This, despite the review of threatened species laws having not yet been completed and that the interim review report suggested Australia was failing its responsibilities to look after its threatened species. One ray of hope is that many of the Senators have said they won’t pass the Government’s legislation until the review recommendations have been acted on.
It seems our poor koalas will be a political football for some time to come and that even if the animals win in the courts, the parliament will just change the laws.
The fight goes on.
Environmental Justice Australia
Level 3, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton
PO Box 12123, A’Beckett St Vic 8006