25 August, 2011

Court Orders Temporary Logging Injunction

Margaret Paul
ABC, AustraliaNews.com.au, Thu 25 August 2011

The Victorian Supreme Court has ordered the state-owned timber company, VicForests, to temporarily stop logging in the Sylvia Creek Forest, north-east of Melbourne. Environmentalists were seeking an injunction to stop what they describe as accelerated logging in the forest. They say the area is an important habitat for the threatened Leadbeater's possum.

The court granted an injunction until 4:15pm (AEST). My Environment spokeswoman, Sarah Rees, says she hopes the court will extend the injunction. "Through the tears, I think this is the first step towards a hopeful future for the Leadbeater's possum," she said. "We're confident the judge is receptive to the concerns the community share about the Leadbeaters possum and its future, which at the moment is in question." Ms Rees says she has spoken to Toolangi locals, who are relieved.

She says around 20 protesters are at the forest today. "Naturally, you can imagine that for the moment they're quite jubilant that they're going to see that the trees are no longer coming down," she said. Lawyers acting for My Environment told the court, logging activity had escalated in the past few days.

They told the court, 20 per cent of the Gun Barrel coupe had been felled within the past two days. The court heard the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires damaged much of the area The judge ordered VicForests to stop felling trees in the area until this afternoon, but said they could continue to remove any trees that had already been chopped down.

In a statement, VicForests says it will comply with the court order. It says it has assessed the area, in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and found it is not an accepted habitat for the possum.

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