Bigger than Brown Mountain!
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.
EEG and our lawyers are set to go, but we do need your help - in a big way.
BUT the Court adjourned our case due to ongoing DELWP investigations and VicForests disclosing new documents this week. 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.
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.
The values in dispute this time are:
We will be presenting the case for threatened wildlife, rainforest, and the need for pre-logging surveys in the Kuark (Koo-ark) forest. We believe VicForests failed to identify protected plants and animals in areas of rich, wet forests it planned to clearfell. We also argue that after these values were identified, in many cases by volunteer citizen scientists from GECO and FFRC, the response was in some cases inadequate and contrary to VicForests legal obligations.
- Yellow-bellied Gliders
- Long-footed Potoroo,
- A new species of fish
- Two new species of crayfish
- Black fellows hemp
- Slender Tree Fern
- Large Brown Tree-frog
Of course, we believe we have good evidence or we’d not be taking this on, but we need your help to make sure we have the best possible chance of winning.
As the case is listed for an eight day hearing, that will mean more than a week of intense legal dispute between their barristers and ours. The Honourable Justice Emerton will preside over this case. The public is welcome to sit in and view proceedings at any time.
The Writ can be read here.
The Statement of Claim can be read here
and the background to the case can be found here
Don’t forget - donating to the EEG legal fighting fund is a fantastic investment for our forests, now and into the future. You can click here to make secure online donations, mail a cheque to EEG, Locked bag 3, ORBOST 3888 or call 5154 0145 for our bank details to make a direct deposit.
Taskforce’s first industry/logger agreement
After much blood, sweat and tears, the Forest Taskforce finally gave birth to the long awaited agreed position called the Statement of Claim on Friday 9th September. The basic details are... there needs to be 2 VEAC enquiries - one on our forests and their natural values and one looking at what 'resource' is left for industry. There needs to be carbon accounting, law reform and a changed future plan for industry (based on plantations we hope).
Read more on the EEG website here
Fire consultation - a flaming waste of time
EEG attended another East Gippsland 'Fire Rountable' meeting in September, hosted by DELWP. Despite the new 'risk based approach' to fire safety, there is still an overwhelming focus on the old dogma of blitz burning the land regardless of evidence, science or what environmental or wildlife values will be damaged or killed. It remains the unquestioned solution which is justified by the most indigestible screed of bureaucratic gooble-de-gook.
The department is burning many areas this Spring where rare orchids, nesting birds, flowering plants and marsupials with young are being killed off. Under the new risk-based approach, the entire environment is a ‘risk’ according to fire managers.
The ‘new’ management is simply window dressing for their ecology-reduction burns.
If you’d like to read the latest science, please take a moment to read this article
on the lack of evidence to back up claims that planned burning reduces wildfire.
Citing an appalling lack of evidence that leaf litter is a cause of unplanned fire, the researchers go on to show
that in the past two hundred years, Australian forests have been getting more fire than at any time in the tens of thousands of years before, mostly due to the European settlers love of fire.
For more on the question of fire, planned burns and the damage to natural fire-proofing, click here
New head of Parks Victoria sacked
Parks Victoria's CEO Bradley Fauteux, has been forced to resign. He was appointed as CEO in November 2015 and was sacked on 14th September 2016. He's breached "various standards of the public service board…” with inappropriate behaviour. Lily D’Ambrosio, the environment minister said he’s also been referred to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). It sounds like there’s been quite a breach - or two!
He was previously the managing director of Ontario Parks in Canada.
Read the article from The Age here
Pine pulp transformed into hardwood.
SA, the plantation state, has developed a hardwood look-alike
from pine pulp with a bit of fancy technology.
The company is claiming that it should reduce the need to cut down native forests as the wood is structurally and visually similar to hardwood timber.
Forestry Tasmania booted off the dole
Not only has FT had to raise the price of logs
by up to 30% (that all?) it is selling the Tahune Airwalk
to try and climb out of its financial stew! If the pro-logging Tasmanian Government can overhaul its loss-making logging company, Daniel Andrews should take note. Read more
The revolving door
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is the national logging lobby group that wants to burn forests for power, log nation parks to deal with bushfires and so on. They have just employed two new lobbyists - one from Bill Shorten's office, one from Anne Ruston's office. So they have both sides of parliament covered.
Tassie chip exports rise 75% – from plantations
This is a wonderful example of a transition that’s happening naturally
. A plantation company has gained certification for its operations, has increased its sales, profits and created jobs. Earlier this year the Tassie govt boldly claimed it was responsible for this 75% rise in the state’s woodchip exports; nothing could be more misleading. It was a privately owned company processing its own plantations to sell as export woodchips. Meanwhile, those trying to sell woodchips from our native forests are ‘doing it tough’.
NZ declares a forest has rights
New Zealand, has just passed a law
that has given a river and forests the legal status of a person! Hopefully it will catch on.
In August Daniel Andrews introduced a ban on unconventional gas extraction in Victoria. Wonderful news - bold move !
Things to do to help
Citizen Science Camp - Grand Final Weekend
Escape the Grand Final hype and head out to East Gippy on 30th Sept.
There’s to be another fabulous Citizen Science Camp to be run by GECO.
Hopefully there will be more rare wildlife to be found and
its forest protected.
More info here
Parks Vic wants your feedback
Have your say – how can Parks Victoria help make Parks more enjoyable.
Post pictures, share and vote on ideas, or tell a story about your ‘perfect parks day’ – or your worst. The good and the bad - it all helps. No shooters or destructive burns or what you’d love to see more of - picnic facilities, interpretation info and so on http://lets-talk.parks.vic.gov.au/strengtheningparks
Plan for how to improve Vic’s enviro laws
Threatened Species week saw our amazing lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) release their roadmap to better environmental laws for Victoria. The government plans to overhaul the fairly useless Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act
, so this report is timely.
We’ve learned that underground fungi networks help trees and plants communicate and assist each other. Now there’s more mind-boggling info
on trees’ communication tricks, from scent to sound! These extracts are from 'The Hidden Life of Trees'
This ability to produce different compounds is another feature that helps trees fend off attacks for a while. When it comes to some species of insects, trees can accurately identify which bad guys they are up against. The saliva of each species is different, and trees can match the saliva to the insect. Indeed, the match can be so precise that trees can release pheromones that summon specific beneficial predators. These help trees by eagerly devouring the insects that are bothering them...
Over centuries, a single fungus can cover many square kilometres and network an entire forest. The fungal connections transmit signals from one tree to the next, helping the trees exchange news about insects, drought and other dangers.
also refers to ‘plant language’ of both grasslands and agricultural crops. The many communication methods plants have developed to fend of pests have been destroyed by modern agricultural methods including ploughing, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The EEG AGM is being held on Thursday 3rd November at 8pm.
Please get in touch for further details – firstname.lastname@example.org