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Forestry Corporation faces $18 million in fines for destroying koala habitat, giant trees and hollow-bearing trees

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is prosecuting Forestry Corporation for allegedly cutting down six “giant trees” and seven “hollow bearing trees” and other breaches in koala habitat in Wild Cattle Creek State Forest inland of Coffs Harbour on the Mid-North Coast. [1] 

The nine alleged breaches carry a potential penalty of $2 million each. Together, the breaches expose the NSW Government’s logging company and the taxpayers who subsidise the corporation’s operations to potentially $18 million in fines. 

It is the fifth time the state-owned Forestry Corporation has been prosecuted or fined by the courts in the past four weeks. 

As a result, Forestry Corporation has been ordered to pay fines and costs of $530,600 in the past month alone. [2]  

“What will it take for Forestry Corporation to end its careless disregard for our forests and environmental law?” Nature Conservation Council Acting Chief Executive Jacqui Mumford said. 

“Forestry Corp is running at a multi-million-dollar loss, subsidised by the taxpayer and still it fails to operate lawfully. 

“At the end of the day, taxpayers are the ones who will pay these fines.  

“We have the intolerable situation where the public is not only forced to subsidise the destruction of our native forests by propping up the loss-making operations of Forestry Corporation, we are also now paying this rogue corporation’s fines. This must end. 

“Forestry Corp is behaving like an outlaw organisation, not a government agency entrusted with managing two million hectares of public forests. 

“Why has the responsible Minister Dugald Saunders remained silent on this matter over the past month.  

“Mr Saunders should state publicly whether he has faith in the management of the organisation and what measures he has taken to pull it into line.  

“The government must establish a comprehensive independent review of Forestry Corporation to ensure it acts lawfully and sustainably.”  

REFERENCES 

[1] EPA launches another FCNSW prosecution for alleged forestry breaches, NSW EPA, 12 July 2022  

[2] Forestry Corp fined $530,000 this month for environmentally reckless and unlawful behaviour, Nature Conservation Council, 1 July 2022 

Forestry Corp fines and prosecutions since 2020 

  1. Jul 2022 — Forestry Corporation NSW fined for forestry activities near Coffs Harbour 
  1. Jun 2022 – FCNSW fined $230,000 by Land and Environment Court 
  1. Jun 2022 — EPA fines FCNSW $15,000 for allegedly failing to comply with post-fire conditions South Brooman State Forest. 
  1. Jun 2022 — EPA prosecutes FCNSW for alleged breaches of post-fire conditions at Yambulla State Forest, near Eden after the 2019/20 bushfires. 
  1. Jun 2022 — $138,000 – Wild Cattle Creek State Forest 
  1. Apr 2022 — $45,000 — Mogo State Forest   
  1. Feb 2021 — $15,000 — Olney State Forest   
  1. Feb 2021 — $30,000 — Ballengarra State Forest   
  1. Mar 2021 — $33,000 — Boyne, Bodalla and Mogo State Forest   
  1. Apr 2020 — $31,100 — Tantawangalo and Bago State Forest   

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