Before the election, Bracks promised a moratorium on logging the Goolengook forest while the Victorian Environment Assessment Council (VEAC) carried out an investigation. This is better than what we had, but the terms of reference proposed are very limited. They will focus only on swapping already reserved high value forests for Goolengook. A leaked Government memo obtained by CRoEG encouraged VEAC to swap Goolengook for Potoroo reserves. There were hundreds of submissions to VEAC asking the terms of reference be broadened. If they aren’t, the process will be a sham and conservation groups could boycott it.
Round-up of protester cases
Protester legal challenges have been given a boost by newcomers Neil Clelland and Gerard Lethbridge (of Lethbridges, Solicitors).
Recently, Orbost funster Magistrate Keith Lewis (in matching tie and handkerchief) fined two Goolengook protesters thousands of dollars each in fines and court costs for a protest relating to ‘trespassing’ on a public road and in publicly owned native forest. While he was on a roll, he sentenced one protester (who locked on to a bulldozer) to a suspended sentence of 90 days jail and rescue costs. This was a test case for the exclusion zones the Department tried to thwart protesters with. As a result of the DDSs appeal, their force field was shown to be invalid.
The soaring legal eagles appealed to the County Court, where Judge Gebhardt found most of the charges to be unproved, and dismissed the remaining one as ‘trivial’. Game, set and match, protesters. Thank you umpires, thank you ball-boys.
Thank you LFF