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Blue Derby Wild’s unlawful logging challenge to Sustainable Timber Tasmania, progressing to High Court of Australia

  • Community group Blue Derby Wild commenced legal action against the Forest Practices Authority (FPA) and Forestry Tasmania trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT), with the Attorney General intervening, in February 2022 to stop logging of Krushka’s forests near iconic Blue Derby mountain bike trails

  • The claim is that the logging is unlawful due to they way STT self regulates themselves, resulting in issues of apprehended bias

  • This legal action achieved the first court ordered injunction to stop logging in public native forest in Tasmania’s history, and has effectively been in place since then.

  • Today the Full Court of Tasmania handed down a decision to refuse the Blue Derby Wild appeal that logging of Krushka’s forests was done unlawfully, adjourning to Monday April 15 to consider Blue Derby Wild’s application for a further injunction to stop logging operations STT proposed to recommence from April 16




The Full Court of Tasmania has today made determination to refuse Blue Derby Wild’s appeal   against the Forest Practices Authority (FPA) and government business enterprise Forestry Tasmania trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT), that their logging practices are unlawful. This is based on issues of apprehended bias stemming from the way in which STT staff regulate their own practices through being delegated the powers of the Forest Practices Authority thereby approving their own applications to log native forest in Tasmania. Meaning STT staff are wearing’ two hats’, one as the logger, and the other as delegated FPA regulator of what are acceptable logging practices.


This case has its origin in the forests around the iconic tourism draw card of the Blue Derby mountain bike trails in the north east of Tasmania, where the Gondwana native forests surrounding the network were being logged for - on average - 80% woodchip. Derby based community group Blue Derby Wild has been waging a campaign to protect the forests of north east Tasmania for 8 years, and took legal action to stop the logging of these forests challenging what they claim to be the systematically unlawful logging of Tasmania’s forests, based on issues of apprehended bias.


Louise Morris, Blue Derby Wild Campaign Coordinator said, “We are obviously very disappointed that the Full Court of Tasmania has not found in our favour that with STT staff being able to apply to themselves for permission to log thereby taking on the powers of the Forest Practices Authority - which is set up to be an independent auditor - that this creates an issue of bias for the decisions made on how our irreplaceable native forests are logged.”


“This case is about so much more than the forests of Krushka’s around the Blue Derby mountain bike trails which is the working example of the conflict created by our current native forest logging regime and it’s damaging impacts on biodiversity, climate change and of course our communities who understand that intact native forests are a massive asset to us.”

 

“I know many business owners and residents of Derby and north east Tasmania are disappointed in this decision and will be supporting our next steps in appealing it to the High Court of Australia. We will continue to do all we can to stop any further logging and burning of these forests, as STT are proposing to do from April 16, to preserve the subject matter of the case for the High Court,” said Ms Morris.


“The Blue Derby Wild legal team have sought a further injunction to stop STT from going in and continuing to log and burn these forests as early as next week. This application is set to be heard on Monday by the court and is urgent, as STT have stated they want to go back into Krushka’s forests to both log and burn the two forest areas next to the mountain bike trail of the same name. This is a massive blow for our community and our forests. Our forests are worth more standing for biodiversity, climate action and our communities,” concluded Ms Morris



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