ON Friday, November 11, the Supreme Court of Victoria announced the details of the injunction on logging in Gippsland and the Central Highlands.
It was determined that surveys must be carried out to detect any greater gliders and yellow-bellied gliders that may be present in forests scheduled for logging, excluding coupes that have been clear-felled since 1939 as it is presumed forest this young are hostile to these hollow dependent species.
In coupes containing greater gliders VicForests must exclude the greater gliders’ located home ranges from timber harvesting operations, exclude from timber harvesting riparian strips at least 100 metres wide located along all waterways in the coupe, and retain at least 60 per cent of the basal area of eucalypts in the harvested area of the coupe.
In coupes containing yellow-bellied gliders, VicForests must exclude from timber harvesting riparian strips at least 100 metres wide located along all waterways in the coupe; and retain at least 60 per cent of the basal area of eucalypts in the harvested area of the coupe, including all identified feed trees and hollow-bearing trees within the coupe.
The judge ordered that VicForests pay the plaintiff’s costs of the proceeding, including any reserved costs, on the standard basis, to be assessed by the Costs Court if not agreed.
The orders do not restrain VicForests from felling or cutting trees or parts of trees in order to address a serious risk to human safety or as otherwise advised, ordered or directed by a responsible authority, including the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or Parks Victoria; or removing and/or selling timber already felled as at November 11, or felling trees or parts of trees for the maintenance of any road, or cutting limbs of trees for the purposes of seed collection, or regeneration activities after permitted logging, or undertaking any work within a coupe to manage or prevent environmental degradation, whether on the instruction, recommendation or direction of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning or as otherwise required to comply with the code.
Kinglake Friends of the Forest representative Aawa White said, “Australia leads the world in mammal extinctions and Victoria is the most cleared state in the country. We have environmental laws for a reason, to protect what is left. Today’s court orders show that VicForests have been breaking these laws. No industry should be allowed to operate if the cost is the extinction of species.
“As a result of these orders greater gliders and yellow-bellied gliders will now get some protections, but other endangered species that live in our forests still get nothing. It’s a ridiculous scenario that volunteer community groups are having to fight the state government every step of the way to stop endangered species being killed by logging.”