Setting precedents

As a result of proposals to log areas occupied by the endangered Leadbeaters Possum, earlier this month the Victorian conservation group My Environment initiated a case in the Supreme Court against Vic Forests.

Although the case only applies to 3 coupes, the transcripts of the case confirm that Vic Forests are concerned that if the case is successful the outcome will apply to another 162 coupes across Victoria.

After 11 days of hearings the case was adjourned on Tuesday 21 February, pending the judgement.

The outcome of this case, whatever that may be, is also likely to influence decisions made by the NSW Government. However, what the case demonstrates is that if one has sufficient funds, My Environment are appealing for public donations to cover the estimated $250,000 in court costs, it would be possible to take an organisation like Forests NSW or the NPWS to court.

Unfortunately, the problem in NSW is that most conservation groups have a quite narrow focus on the logging industry, as opposed to broader environmental concerns like dieback in its various forms.

For example, if the NSW Nature Conservation Council understood that having Greens Councillor Keith Hughes on the Biamanga NP management (not) board, was part of the problem not the solution, they could aim toward challenging the NPWS for failing to acknowledge the existence of dieback in their management plans for National Parks.

Of course moving from being part of the problem would require a precedent setting change in the NSW conservation movement, because opposition to logging would come from the need for forest and catchment restoration, as opposed to current perceptions, that logging is the only problem.







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