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Environment East Gippsland Forest Update

In this bulletin:

  1. Court Win - What does it mean?
  2. Will the government change the laws to avoid protecting forests?
  3. Feast for Forests Yarraville Sunday 29th August 2010
Thanks to everyone who has sent excited congratulations with many !!! We’re all sleeping with permanent smiles on our dials. It is truly an amazing time and I think the most significant win we’ve had for decades.

Vicforests - Protect No Wildlife

On the steps of Supreme Court 11th August 2010

I’m just catching up with a few emails now and hope to get to the others in the coming week. But I wanted to mention a couple of things -

I know there are a lot of people who have a concern the govt will just change the rules. Greg Barber (Greens MP) asked a question of Gavin Jennings in Parliament on Thursday and he gave the answer ‘yes’, the govt will be abiding by the judgment and not altering laws or prescriptions. So it’s on the public record – in Hansard. Click here to read the details Jennings isn’t a power broker though, but they will at least be hard pressed to change anything before the state election in November.

Greg Barber

Greg Barber On the steps of Parliament House 12th August 2010

There are many possible scenarios as a result of this landmark decision and we’re only just starting to digest and come to terms with what it means. Here are a list of things we are putting into the equations – that could possibly happen:
  1. They’ll alter the laws in a sneaky underhanded way after the election and cop the media flack for a day or so. To help make this impossible, we – AND YOU - have to keep asking them at every possible opportunity to promise to not alter the regulations that would favour logging.
    Please if you get a chance to call a state pollie on talkback or at a candidates forum (not the Fed pollies), please do so, to get it right out there on the public record. Or you could ask a federal wanna-be pollie if they think the RFA’s are working given the legal cases that have shown the States have been in contempt of the env laws bestowed upon them under the RFAs. If so, will the Federal Govt take back control of the management and protection of Aust’s rare and endangered species/wildlife?
  2. They will now have to survey every coupe before they log them – in the right season for those species (for flowering plants, calling frogs etc) which could mean no logging for the next 12 months while they do surveys.
  3. They will have to survey only the more likely areas which could have rare and threatened species in them.
  4. Either VicForests and DSE will be setting up a much bigger biodiversity unit or regional units to deal with these surveys, or they will be employing consultants to do the work.
  5. Surveys done throughout the seasons by professionals will cost a fortune – adding to the already uneconomic nature of logging public forests.
  6. VicForests and DSE will argue over who is responsible for these surveys but even if DSE is, they would have to pass on those costs to VicForests as part of the costs of managing the forests for logging, and VicForests would have to pass these costs onto the logging companies
  7. Forests in other regions will also have to be surveyed before logging – like koala habitat in Sth Gippy, the Leadbeaters Possum forests in the Central Highlands and possibly the forests of the North East and Tambo areas.
  8. A moratorium could be put on all Old Growth and HCV forests meanwhile.
  9. If more surveys show up threatened species in non-old growth and High Conservation Value forests, there could be an argument to have to survey ALL public native forests.
  10. The implications for logging privately owned forests is unknown as yet.
  11. If the survey team continues to survey with the cameras and other gear we have, DSE and VicForests will look very stupid if they didn’t find something that the enviro groups did.

As you can see this is quite exciting - and I’m still reading the judgment.

I know I keep saying this, but once again, thanks to everyone who has helped in whatever ways they have been able to – from the fundraisers, donors, wildlife survey team, artists for old growth, elders for old growth, the legal team, the support and confidence we’ve had from other helpful groups … the list is very long. EEG kick-started the legal action over state laws and wildlife protection (taking a massive risk with ours and others $$$), but without those who have helped behind the scenes it would have been much less do-able.

This case is even set to see about 30 people who blockaded and were arrested in Brown Mt and other forests possibly have their charges dropped. I just wonder how retrospective all this will be? Those arrested and charged in the 1989-90 era could also claim compo (?!). Many of these same laws and regulations applied then.

It also looks like we’ll be able to claim most of our costs back. Though VicForests will argue against this. If we do get them or some of the costs back, we’ll have a legal fund ready to go next they don’t abide by the law! It’ll be nice for them to know this too. But this is still to be argued in another court session in September.

But meanwhile … Brown Mountain is now a safe sanctuary for all of those animals and 600 year old trees they live under and in.

Vicforests - Protect No Wildlife

On the steps of Parliament House 12th August 2010

More photos from Parliament House 12th August 2010 available here

For those of you who may have missed the media coverage of the judgement....

Feast for Forests fundraiser!
Three-course Organic, Vegetarian Banquet

Date: Sunday 29th August 2010
Time: 6pm - 10pm
Address:Yarraville Community Centre
59 Francis St, Yarraville
Price: $50 per head
Rsvp: 20th August 2010
The Fauna and Flora Research Collective Inc. (FFRC), are a collective of field naturalists dedicated to enhancing the status of Australia’s endangered species through strategic action.
Please join us for an evening of organic vegetarian food, fine wine, great music and presentations by special guest speakers, including Chris Taylor, Phd Candidate (Forest Certification).
Entertainment on the evening will generously be provided by special guests Rebecca Barnard and Jan Wositzky from the Bushwackers Band.
A PDF invitation with more details available here
All proceeds go towards FFRC’s conservation projects.

Thanks again all.
Jill Redwood
Environment East Gippsland Inc

FORESTS - our breathing space!