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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Pretend Fines for illegal logging leave Koalas unprotected

Subject: [Greens-Media]
Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2011

Illegal logging by Forestry NSW in potential koala habitat in the Cathcart Forest in south east NSW has resulted in a ridiculously small fine of just $300 from the Office of Environment and Heritage.  This outcome has highlighted the need for legislative change to ensure there are serious penalties for illegal logging in NSW.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, NSW forestry spokesperson said:

"In February forestry campaigners placed the Office of Environment on notice of the failure of Forestry NSW to check for koalas before it logged the Cathcart State forest.

"After an investigation by the OEH found the illegal logging proven, they have now delivered the embarrassingly low fine of just $300 to Forestry NSW.

"With fines this low, it makes economic sense for Forestry NSW to avoid undertaking studies in the future, as the cost of the fine is far less than the cost of taking action to protect koala habitat.

"These breaches occurred when Labor was in office, and this pathetic fine has been imposed under weak forestry laws that both Labor and the Coalition support.

"Rewarding serious breaches of the law with a slap on the wrist shows a lack of commitment to sustainability in forestry operations in NSW.

"This confirms the need for the strengthening of penalties in this area so that the law works to protect vulnerable species in our state forests.

"Logging of potential koala habitat is a serious matter, and it should bring a serious penalty, not this ridiculous slap on the wrist," Mr Shoebridge said.

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