19 May, 2015

Goongerah Environment Centre threatened with trespassing prosecution after revealing Errinundra Plateau rainforest clearing

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 19 May 2015 

Members of an environment group who revealed evidence of rainforest clearing in East Gippsland, in south-east Victoria, have been threatened with prosecution.

After being tipped off by the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), the Department of Environment found VicForests had needlessly destroyed rainforest canopy on the Errinundra Plateau.

The state forestry compliance officer has now threatened to prosecute members of GECO for trespassing in the disputed logging coupes.

Ed Hill from GECO said he was shocked by the threats.

"Quite frankly we're disgusted that the Government would threaten to prosecute community members for getting out there and basically doing the work that the Government is meant to be doing and holding VicForests accountable to state laws that protect unique environmental values, like rainforest," he said.

Mr Hill said he had asked for Environment Minister Lisa Neville to intervene.

"She had a scathing assessment of the rainforest logging and on VicForests and their conduct in that operation, so we're really surprised that the Government wants to take further steps to prosecute community members for the work they're meant to be doing," he said.

The Environment Minister has referred the ABC's enquiry to another Government department.

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