16 December, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: VicForests facing legal action again


VicForests facing legal action again 

The state government owned logging company VicForests, is in the legal crosshairs of environmentalists yet again.  Lawyers acting on behalf of Environment East Gippsland have this week formally requested an explanation as to why a rich habitat site suited for rare forest-dependent wildlife was not surveyed before logging commenced last week.

“We believe this is a strong case of non-compliance with the law”, said EEG’s Jill Redwood. “This beautiful stand of wet forest contains old growth trees, rainforest and many habitat traits essential for rare and threatened wildlife. It should have been surveyed.”

“We won our Brown Mountain case in 2010 when VicForests logged without checking for the presence of rare native animals.  It seems they haven’t learnt.”

“To make things worse, rainforest in this area has not been protected from logging.  As far as we are aware, VicForests has already logged unlawfully within the protected rainforest buffer.”

The forest is part of the St Patrick's River catchment south west of Goolengook and NE of Orbost.

“EEG has had concerns for a number of years that VicForests has been making its own decisions on where to survey based more on its commercial interests rather than actual concern for protecting old growth habitat and rare native animals.”

“More areas of high quality habitat are planned for imminent logging and we believe they have also been overlooked for surveying. The less they find, the more they can cut down.

“We’ve told the Andrews Government about these issues and hope it will pull VicForests into line, but we haven’t had any indication yet that they plan to take action”

For comment:  Jill Redwood    (03) 5154  0145

15 December, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE: Protest halts vicforests illegal logging operation

MEDIA RELEASE – 15/12/2015

Conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have halted logging operations in high conservation value forest on the St Patrick’s River in East Gippsland today due to multiple breaches of the law.

A person is positioned in a tree platform 30m off the ground. The platform is tied off to logging machinery which is preventing logging operations from continuing.

GECO believes the logging is illegal.  VicForests has failed to carry out necessary pre logging surveys for threatened wildlife, which it is legally obligated to do. Logging has also illegally impacted upon a large stand of protected rainforest.

“The Minister was alerted to these breaches last week but as logging continues we’ve taken direct action to prevent further destruction of wildlife habitat and rainforest,’ said Ed Hill.

Three threatened/protected species have been recorded close to the area; Yellow-bellied Glider, Sooty Owl and the endangered Long-footed Potoroo.  The forest is also rich in old trees with hollows – an indication that other rare and protected wildlife could be supported in this forest,” said Ed Hill.

“Many stands of forest with high quality habitat for threatened wildlife are listed by VicForests as being currently logged or about to be logged and appear to have no surveys associated with them.  These may also be illegal operations.”

“After a controversial rainforest logging operation was exposed by GECO earlier this year, Environment Minister Lisa Neville MP ordered her department to conduct ‘spot checks’ on VicForests’ logging operations in rainforest areas.  This should have ensured rainforests are protected”, said Ed Hill

“Instead we see repeated and blatant contempt of clearly worded laws which should see VicForests charged, as any of us would be for destruction of protected rainforest,” said Ed Hill.

“As the Minister responsible Lisa Neville must act to immediately halt the logging in this coupe and order a full investigation into the suitability of VicForests as a manager of public property,” said Ed Hill.

High resolution images and video available from 10am

Media contact: Ed Hill  (03) 5154 0109 or 0414199645

email: geco.media@gmail.com ,  website: www.geco.org.au