What does the Federal Court ruling against the Bob Brown Foundation’s “Great Forest” case mean for the forests of north east Tasmania?
If this landmark case had been successful it would have meant our most precious areas of Gondwanic remnant forests and our glacial refugia rainforests would have been taken off the chopping block. In keeping with the recommendations from the Samuel Review to immediately reform our destructive logging laws under the Regional Forest Agreement that governs our states logging industry which does not adhere to national environmental protection laws under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
The federal court has found that our logging laws under the Regional Forest Agreements are not legally binding under federal law. This is devastating for our native forests: it allows state governments to be sending our precious wildlife like Swift Parrots, Tasmanian Devils, Wedge Tail Eagles, Freshwater Lobster, quolls and Masked Owl to the edge of extinction with no federal legal avenues to stop them.
Despite the verdict, this federal court case has produced important wins that should be celebrated, including injunctions which halted logging in critical Swift Parrot habitat for four months during the height of their breeding season. It is now a matter of weeks before those parrots prepare to migrate across the Bass Strait, and we hope with a less interrupted breeding season there will be more fledglings this year.
Today’s ruling shows that our federal environment laws are broken and aren’t protecting our forests from destruction. The decision highlights the failings of the state and federal government to halt the destruction of our last stands of native forests and iconic species within them. It shows the urgent need for the Morrison Government to heed Professor Samuel’s warning and introduce stronger environmental standards to protect our threatened forests and wildlife.
This means Blue Derby Wild will continue with, and step up, our collaborations with researchers, scientists, local businesses and people who are passionate about biodiversity, wildlife and protecting the best bits of north east Tasmania - our forests. Join us to take action on the ground, or online. The more voices speaking up for the forests, the more strength we have.
We are now in the lead up to a federal election and the issue of native forest logging is going to be a national one that the Morrison Coalition Government must step up to. Australia continues to be one of the worst offenders in species extinction in the developed world. If the Morrison Government wants to take meaningful action on environment and climate issues, it would end native forest logging today.
This is where the community taking action will shape the actions of political representatives. Whatever state or federal electorate you live in, contact your member of parliament and make it clear you want an end to native forest logging. You can find who your representative is here.
The Tasmanain and federal government have ignored public appeals, scientific advice, failed attempts at FSC certification, and a statutory review that says native forest logging must be reformed. It’s time for action. The Prime Minister has the power to be a leader for the environment like former prime minister Malcolm Fraser who stopped whaling or Bob Hawke who saved the Franklin river from being dammed– Mr Morrison could save what is left of our native forests.
The Samuel Review recommended that the government should remove the exemption of Regional Forestry Agreements from the EPBC Act and require logging in native forests to be assessed against national environmental standards. The government must do this immediately or the extinction of the swift parrot and other threatened species will be on their heads.
Congratulations to the activists and the Bob Brown Foundation for taking on this legal action. It is important work and a brave undertaking to protect our forests as they are worth more standing.