Victoria’s tall montane ash and mixed species forests in the Central Highlands provide some of the last remaining habitat for the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and the vulnerable Greater Glider. These tiny, nocturnal possums need the tall canopies and deep hollows of old-growth eucalypts to survive. But right now the Victorian government (VicForests) is logging their habitat and driving these fragile creatures closer to extinction.
The Federal Court case
Almost one year ago, representing Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum, Environment Justice Australia took VicForests to the Federal Court to stop the destruction of precious habitat for the Leady and the Glider. They won a temporary ban to keep the bulldozers out – but the ban is only temporary while the case goes to Court.
The case started on 3 June 2019 for a three week trial. The Court will hear experts and legal submissions, and their barristers will cross examine VicForests witnesses about their logging and its impact on threatened species. Acting on behalf of Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum, EJA is asking for a Federal Court order to stop logging in 41 forest coupes in Victoria’s Central Highlands that are home to Greater Gliders and Leadbeater’s Possums.
EJA is also asking the court to protect additional forests to mitigate for 26 sites they allege were unlawfully logged in the past. If this case is successful, logging can be stopped in these critical areas of the Leadbeater’s and Greater Glider’s habitat and help save them from extinction.
This situation isn’t limited to Victoria. Logging is continuing in threatened species habitat while Regional Forests Agreements (RFAs) between state and federal governments are in place across the country. RFAs have meant that logging agencies don’t play by the rules of our national environment laws – they continue to bulldoze the homes of threatened species that are meant to be protected. No other industry has this kind of exemption. Not even mining. In the 20 years these Regional Forest Agreements have been in place, logging has pushed iconic Australian species like the Swift Parrot, Leadbeater’s Possum, the Koala and the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo closer to extinction. If this case is won it will set a national precedent that could change the way our forests are managed nationally and have a huge, positive outcome for wildlife.
Join them in Court
The public is invited to attend the Federal Court from June 3 to show support for the case and our threatened possums.
When: Any day from June 3, for three weeks, 10am – 4pm (excluding Thurs 6 June, Mon 10 June and Tues 11 June) Where: Court 8B, Federal Court, 305 William St, Melbourne. You’ll be able to sit up the back of the court room in the public gallery and observe the proceedings. Court is serious business so please don’t bring along protest gear. Security will likely take it off you on the way in.
Keep up with the case day to day on the FoLP facebook page
“No government or company should be exempt from national environment laws that are in place to protect threatened wildlife like the Greater Glider and Leadbeater’s Possum. We are determined to prevent the extinction of our unique native animals and to do that we must stop the senseless logging of critical possum habitat”Steve Meacher President, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum
Friends of Leadbeaters Possum needs to raise more to cover the legal expenses of presenting their powerful expert evidence and to cover Court costs. Their final fundraiser is under way. You can support this historic case by donating here.