Liberal Member for Braddon, Joan Rylah, has serious questions to answer following revelations that the Forest Practices Authority (FPA) is investigating the clearance of native vegetation on her property without a logging permit, Greens Leader and Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“If these allegations raised in today’s media are verified, then Mrs Rylah needs to provide some straight answers to some serious questions as it is not good enough to just blame the contractor,” Mr Booth said.
“Local residents have raised concerns with the Greens that despite there being a temporary lull in vegetation clearing following the authorities confirming a permit was needed, clearing works recommenced, but again, according to locals, without the necessary permit.”
“Mrs Rylah is reported as stating that the contractor was instructed to cease all works upon being notified of a potential breach by the FPA on October 27 this year, however my office was still receiving complaints from local residents of works resuming earlier last week.”
“Apparently other nearby properties along this watercourse have it stipulated that this vegetation is not to be cleared, which makes the clearance of this tract of native vegetation on the Rylahs’ property further concerning.”
“There are also serious concerns that the native vegetation is being cleared right to the edge of a waterway which could be in breach of the Forest Practices Code’s streamside reserve buffer zone requirements.”
“It would be unacceptable for any member of the public to thumb their nose at such legal requirements, and it is definitely not acceptable for them to be flouted so outrageously by a member of parliament.”
“The law must apply to all without fear or favour.”
“The Greens urge that pending the FPA’s investigation, any breaches are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“The Hodgman government is earning a worrying reputation for being blatantly anti-environment, and this latest situation only reinforces that concern.”
“The Premier, Will Hodgman, should direct his member of government, Mrs Rylah, to accept responsibility and publicly apologise for any breach, and he should also undertake that the government will not attempt to intervene in any course of action which the relevant authorities may take over this matter,” Mr Booth said.