On Tuesday April 18 Blue Derby Wild, and defendants Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Forest Practices Authority, appeared in the Tasmanian Full Court of appeal following the decision handed down on Friday December 9 in the Supreme Court of Tasmania that dismissed allegations of unlawful logging against the Forest Practices Authority, and Sustainable Timber Tasmania.
The claims centre on issues of apprehended bias arising from Sustainable Timber Tasmania staff having the powers to self regulate their own logging plans and logging operations, in the stead of the independent regulator, The Forest Practices Authority.
We have seen issues of apprehended bias play out in other jurisdictions across Australia, including with the decision by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding the offshore oil and gas exploration permit on the coast of NSW, known as PEP11.
This case is about so much more than a few areas of forests around the Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails. It is about how the Tasmanian government native forest logging agency Sustainable Timber Tasmania have been regulating themselves for decades. Resulting in countless examples of native forests being logged in ways that are anything but sustainable, lack transparency, do not adhere to the most basic environmental and biodiversity benchmarks due exemptions from federal laws such as the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act, thanks to our state based Regional Forest Agreement.
When starting this case we knew we were in for a long haul as we are challenging systematic issues with how our government business enterprise Sustainable Timber Tasmania (legal name Forestry Tasmania) regulates itself, by-passes the independent regulator in the Forest Practices Authority, and continues to lock the community out of decisions about our state owned forests. And it’s been this way since 1985
We now eagerly await the decision of the judges who heard our appeal on Tuesday to know what is next for our legal campaign, our forests and our volunteer run community group. It could be a matter of weeks, or months, till we get a verdict. We will let you know as soon as we do when the decision is expected.
This incredible effort has been made possible by all of you who have donated to our Legal Fighting Fund. Thank you!
We have been overwhelmed by people donating from their pensions, children donating their pocket money to help the case, and families pooling their resources to make generous donations for our forests. Blue Derby Wild is entirely volunteer run so every cent donated goes towards the campaign, and getting this case into the highest courts in Tasmania. It has been the public outpouring of support that has meant the most and has kept us going through the hard slog over the past year. We couldn’t do this without our community of supporters.
As the volunteer community group who has brought this case about, and giving it our all for our forests, we are not able to be too vocal about the case. We need our community of supporters and fellow forest advocates being the voice for the trees, and fact this case is happening. That logging of Tasmania’s high conservation value forests is increasing and has been an non-transparent and self regulating system for too long. Most importantly that our forests are worth more standing!