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Forestry Corporation's reckless record of illegal logging continues, Greater Gliders only safe thanks to local forest defenders.

December 6th, 2023.  

With Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) yesterday agreeing to cease forestry operations in Styx River State Forest and undertake an ecological assessment of Greater Glider den trees, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW has today called on Ministers Sharpe and Moriarity to fix the broken system of environmental assessment which allows Forestry Corporation to survey for nocturnal wildlife during the day.  

“The system is broken and needs to change. Across NSW, Forestry Corporation is illegally destroying endangered species habitat” NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford said today.  

The voluntary cessation of logging comes after members of the Bellingen Activist Network observed and recorded a Greater Glider entering a den in an area of active logging. 

Available for use with Bellingen Activist Network Credit.   

Members of the Bellingen Activist Network then peacefully blockaded the forest to ensure this endangered marsupial’s den was protected, a legal requirement within NSW's extremely weak regulations on logging.  

“This is evidence of the importance of citizen scientists and direct action in protecting our precious forests from illegal logging” NCC CEO Jacqui Mumford said today.  

This voluntary cessation of logging comes after the Environment Protection Authority last month prosecuted Forestry Corporation for destroying 17 trees in a protected area within Coopernook state forest on the mid-north coast. 

Forestry Corporation admitted to the illegal logging charges and agreed to pay a $500,000 enforceable undertaking.   

“Despite being described by court judges as “reckless”, the NSW Government continues to throw public funds at this state-owned corporation Mumford said.  

“Forestry Corporation has been fined 12 times in the past three years for illegal logging activities, with fines and legal costs totalling at least $1,322,700 since 2020.  There are also 21 investigations still pending.[1]  

“There are also two current stop work orders for logging operations on the south coast (Flat Rock and Tallaganda state forests) due to protocol breaches relating to logging endangered Greater Glider den trees.  

“It’s evident that court proceedings and fines are failing to keep FCNSW in bounds,” 

“Judges in the Land and Environment Court have repeatedly called FCNSW a bad corporate actor that does not respect the environment and regulations which are there to protect it.[2]  

“FCNSW cannot be trusted with our precious native forests. It’s time for the NSW Government to protect these forests from logging and move to a 100% plantation-based timber industry. 
 
“Native forest logging is on its way out. Western Australia and Victoria’s native forest industry will be ending at the start of 2024. NSW is lagging and it’s time for a transition plan” Mumford said.  
 

Statement ends  

Media contact:  
NCC: Clancy Barnard, Ph: 0438 869 332   
Bellingen Activist Network: Tawm, Ph 0401 495 241  
  

Background 

 [1] There are currently 21 ongoing investigations into FCNSW. Link: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/native-forestry/regulating/register-of-crown-forestry-investigations 

 
As well as: 

 Nov 2023 — $500,000 — $500,000 worth of compensation for illegal removal of 17 protected trees at Coopernook State Forest in 2021  

 
[2] Quotes from NSW Land and Environment Court  
Environment Protection Authority v Forestry Corporation of NSW [2022] NSWLEC 75 
At paragraph 59: “This past record of lower level infringements demonstrates, I am satisfied, that, in the past, the Corporation cannot be regarded as having been a good corporate citizen.”  
At paragraph 70: “In the past five years, twenty-four official cautions and thirteen penalty notices have been issued to Forestry Corporation by the EPA.”  
  

Environment Protection Authority v Forestry Commission of New South Wales [2013] NSWLEC 101  

At paragraph 155: “The evidence of past convictions for environmental offences does not demonstrate that Forestry NSW has been a good corporate citizen with respect to environmental statutory compliance.”  
  

Director-General, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water v Forestry Commission of New South Wales [2011] NSWLEC 102  

Justice Pepper found, at paragraph 100: “However, in my view, the number of convictions suggests either a pattern of continuing disobedience in respect of environmental laws generally or, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to compliance with such laws. I would attribute more weight to these past convictions than that suggested by the Forestry Commission.”  
 
At paragraph 103: “Given the number of offences the Forestry Commission has been convicted of and in light of the additional enforcement notices issued against it, I find that the Forestry Commission's conduct does manifest a reckless attitude towards compliance with its environmental obligations.”  

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