Errinundra Plateau rainforest canopy needlessly destroyed in East Gippsland, Environment Dept report finds

A report from the Department of Environment has revealed VicForests’ contractors needlessly destroyed rainforest canopy in East Gippsland

The department visited the area last month to investigate claims VicForests had illegally logged rainforest on the Erindurra Plateau.

The report, released by the Government on Friday, reveals the investigators were unable to conduct a proper physical assessment of the site because the area had been badly disturbed.

It notes that 22 rainforest canopy trees had been pushed over, including southern sassafras and Gippsland waratah.

Investigators said they were concerned because there was no obvious reason why the rainforest canopy had been destroyed.

It said VicForests retained a degree of culpability because it did not tell its contractors not to harvest the trees.

It said regulatory action would not succeed because of a lack of conclusive evidence but it recommended VicForests review its guidelines.

Last week, Environment Minister Lisa Neville said she would send in department staff to conduct spot checks on VicForests’ logging activities.

The Victorian Greens’ forestry spokeswoman, Samantha Dunn, said independent ecologists and inspectors should be deployed to keep an eye on VicForests.

“I’ve seen a wealth of material produced by the community out there which clearly indicates rainforest species have been felled, it’s a bit laughable in terms of yes the evidence has actually gone off on a logging truck to the mill now, so no wonder there’s inconclusive evidence,” she said.

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