Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
The annual report of Tasmania's Forest Practices' Authority makes it clear that Forest Practices Plans (FPPs) are regularly ignored by industry operators, and yet those who breach the Forest Practices Act face little or no sanction.
The report shows that 14.8% of operations did not comply with FPPs. Of particular note are FEA ltd and AKS Forest Solutions of which 50% and 56% respectively did not comply.
Of these non-compliant operations, the vast majority had no further action taken (134), only one had corrective action taken and only nine breaches underwent further investigation. Of these nine, two were Forestry Tasmania and seven were independent private properties.
It begs the question, why are Forest Practices Plan which are - theoretically - about minimising the ecological impact of logging, being ignored and then so little action being taken to ensure standards are maintained?
The report indicates no new prosecutions took place in the past financial year. Three breaches of the Act resulted in fines totalling in $3,500, suggesting an improvement from fines totalling in $13,000 in the previous year. However there were two cases of category 1 fines ($0-$3,000) and one $2,000 fine that were wholly suspended.
Another breach had no action taken because the infringing party paid three times the usual royalty rate to Forestry Tasmania as compensation. One more case involved a breach onto Forestry Tasmania land, the operator “resurveyed the boundary” and it appears no action was taken.