Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Forests spokesperson
The Gutwein Government and the State’s forestry GBE are on notice following yesterday’s landmark Federal Court decision on logging threatened species habitat in Victoria.
The decision in Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum V. VicForests confirms native forest logging operations are not exempt from national environmental laws.
In Tasmania, the tragic story of species’ decline is much the same. Independent scientists have confirmed ‘Sustainable’ Timbers Tasmania logging operations are clearfelling and burning endangered swift parrot and wedge-tailed eagle habitat.
That’s why STT has repeatedly failed to secure Forest Stewardship Certification. It is driving species to extinction while Resources Minister, Guy Barnett cheers it on from the ministerial benches.
The mendicant native forest logging industry is now on notice. It has operated for decades secure in the belief it stitched up such a rolling, favourable resource security agreement with State and Federal governments, it didn’t have to comply with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999.
Now, a huge question mark hangs over the native forest logging industry here.
Tasmania’s 20 year Regional Forest Agreement and Forest Practices Code are failing to protect threatened and endangered species. It’s clear that was a design feature as complicit governments gave the industry exactly what it demanded.
The spotlight is now on the Gutwein Government and STT. There’s no getting around the fact they are overseeing the loss of critical habitat.
Any other individual or entity that unleashed such damage on the natural environment would be subject to the EPBC Act.
The Greens will be working with conservation organisations, environmental lawyers, independent scientists as well as citizen scientists, to expose the native forest logging industry’s role in driving species such as the swift parrot and wedge-tailed eagle to extinction against the very principles of the EPBC Act.