Massive rainforest breach sparks review of enforcement
After the horrendous and blatant destruction of a rainforest area by VicForests in March 2016, government compliance officers dithered and stalled for almost 2 years, and even then, botched the court papers. The Minister ordered an investigation just months out from the 2018 state election.
When it finally reached the court in August 2018 the case was thrown out due to bungled paperwork prepared by logging enforcement officers. It could not be corrected and resubmitted as they had stalled long enough to see the statute of limitations apply and the time period had elapsed for charging VicForests with illegal logging. This allowed VicForests to escape prosecution over another serious criminal act. All concerned including the government looked extremely dodgy – and just two months out from the November state election.
The Environment Minister called for a rapid review of the compliance section to assess enforcement and why those charged with enforcing the law can’t do their job. The report was due to be finalised and submitted to the Dept Secretary on October 24th.