KUARK – protecting a forest ark

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Supreme Court Case

EEG’s history of taking legal action has become legendary. We are now progressing another legal case to protect some of East Gippsland’s most beautiful stands of forest in an area known as the Kuark (koo-ark). This began in January 2016, with a successful injunction to stop logging granted in February 2016 (until the case is finalised). We argue that VicForests failed to properly look for and protect threatened wildlife, native plants and rainforest.

How it began

There had been a number of other areas in East Gippsland where the citizen science work of GECO and FFRC had identified wildlife such as Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders in areas planned for logging. With the evidence of these species and the help of EEG’s lawyers at EJA writing to VicForests, several forest stands were protected or partly protected. The combination of volunteer survey findings and legal assistance were very effective. 

However, after the survey crews and our lawyers had informed VicForests of findings in three particular coupes in the Kuark forests, it refused to do what we believed they were obliged to, as they had in the other areas.  Despite relevant legislation, the EG Forest Management Plan, Management Procedures, Planning Standards and the Code of Practice for Timber Production, logging continued.

EEG applied for and was granted an urgent interlocutory injunction on 13th February 2016.    We are now seeking orders declaring that the logging in these coupes is unlawful and to continue this injunction until VicForests comply with their legal obligations.

 

The three forest stands in dispute

There are three logging coupes in dispute. VicForests named one ‘Tin shed’, coupe number 830-507-0023, which was half logged (early January) but had not been surveyed despite the likely presence of rare species.

One to its south is called ‘Webbed feet’ coupe no 507-0020 (late Jan/Feb), and has a substantial area of rainforest within it. This coupe has had major disturbance from snig tracks across half the area but with only a relatively small part of it logged. The injunction prevented further damage.

The third coupe is called ‘Drop Bear’, numbered 507-0021 and was marked as ‘in progress’. It is an untouched stand of rich forest to the north west adjoining Webbed Feet that VicForests now claim it has no intention to log this year.

Bigger than Brown Mountain!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Supreme Court case against VicForests did not settle at court-ordered mediation on 24th August. EEG and our team of excellent lawyers were planning to be back in the Melbourne Supreme Court again on October 26th to again argue the case.

BUT the Court adjourned our case due to ongoing DELWP investigations and VicForests recent disclosure of new documents. We will be heading off to the Melbourne Supreme Court on 5th December now - for an 8 day trial. We will be arguing that VicForests failed to identify and protect threatened plants and animals at logging coupes in the Kuark forests. This is going to be an important case for threatened species protection in Victoria.

EEG and our lawyers are set to go, but we do need your help - in a big way.
A very generous supporter has offered us a matching dollar for dollar donation of up to $10,000. But she needs to know we have public support. That means if we can raise $10,000 from our members and followers, it will actually give us $20,000 to help our case! Good deal?
As donations to EEG are tax-deductible you can also claim them back when you do your tax.


The case will raise legal questions that we hope will provide findings with wider ramifications than just in the disputed areas, as with the Brown Mountain findings. Those findings resulted in VicForests carrying out (limited) pre-logging surveys that it never had done in the past.

Victoria’s own ‘Thylacine’ pushed into extinction pit

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Victoria’s version of the Tasmanian Tiger is heading down the same extinction path as its relative was 80 years ago when the last Tasmanian Tiger died in the Hobart Zoo.

“Eighty years ago we can accept that ignorance was the reason for the extinction of this amazing marsupial ‘dog’. In 2016 there is no excuse”, said Jill Redwood of Environment East Gippsland. “Are we set to farewell another fascinating marsupial carnivore from our ecosystem, without so much as a passing glance?”