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Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Janet Cavanaugh and NEFA Welcomes Prosecution of Forests NSW

Janet Cavanaugh (left), with other Greens,  assessing logging practices in Doubleduke State Forest in January 2011

Janet Cavanaugh welcomes the news that Forests NSW will be prosecuted by the Office of Environment and Heritage for logging an endangered ecological community.

MEDIA RELEASE 17 October 2011 by NEFA


NEFA welcomes the belated prosecution of Forests NSW for logging an Endangered Ecological Community in Doubleduke State Forest, west of Evans Head in north-east NSW.

The prosecution was commenced by the Office of Environment and Heritage in the Land and Environment Court on Friday in response to detailed complaints made by the Clarence Environment Centre and NEFA over 16 months ago.

As well as logging, killing and damaging some 1,500 trees and shrubs in the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest, NEFA reported breaches of numerous statutory licence conditions, including failure to identify and protect Yellow-bellied Glider feed trees, locations of endangered plants, and a wetland

NEFA spokesperson, Dailan Pugh, said that since then Forests NSW and their Minister have repeatedly claimed that they did nothing wrong. “We welcome this opportunity for the truth of our claims to be tested in court”.

“Due to removal of third party rights we were not able to take proceedings ourselves and have had to rely upon the Office of Environment and Heritage to act on our complaint”.

“We have since made similar complaints about logging in Grange State Forest west of Grafton and Wedding Bells State Forest north of Coffs Harbour and hope that they will be similarly investigated and prosecuted should the evidence warrant it”.

“We have assessed that Forests NSW are liable for fines of up to $16 million for logging the endangered ecosystem at Doubleduke. In the result of a guilty finding, we trust that the court will ensure that any resultant fines are sufficient to act as a meaningful deterrent and that appropriate rehabilitation orders are issued”.

“We hope that this signifies a new will to enforce threatened species laws in north-east NSW’s public forests”. Mr. Pugh said that when they were recently (8/06/2011) tested in southern NSW, Justice Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court commented on Forests NSW that ‘the number of convictions suggests either a pattern of continuing disobedience in respect of environmental laws generally or, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to compliance with such laws’.


Video of Logging Damage at Grange State Forest

NEFA’s Doubleduke audits are available at:
http://nefa.org.au/audit/Doubleduke/Prelim_Audit_Doubleduke_SF_1.pdf

http://nefa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Audit_Doubleduke_Supp1_Nov_2010.pdf

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