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High Court of Australia dismisses Blue Derby Wild special leave application


Today the High Court of Australia dismissed the special leave application by Tasmanian community group Blue Derby Wild to hear its claims of unlawful logging due to apprehended bias.  The government logging agency (Forestry Tasmania - trading as Sustainable Timber Tasmania) staff wear two hats (one of the loggers and one of the regulators). The High Court did not decide on the bias ground as it found that there was not a special question for it decide on the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Tasmania’s decision that Blue Derby Wild did not have standing to bring the case.

Louise Morris, Campaign Coordinator of Blue Derby Wild said after the decision, “We are obviously saddened and very disappointed at today's decision by the High Court not allow us to proceed with our claims that Tasmania’s forests have been unlawfully logged for decades, due to bias resulting from Sustainable Timber Staff being delegated the powers of the independent regulators. Functionally making the logger, the regulator and the judge of whether the ongoing destruction of our native forests is acceptable.”


“The issue that arose from the Tasmanian Supreme Courts’ decision handed down on April 12, is that community groups such as Blue Derby Wild, or even larger organisations, do not have the right or standing to defend our wild places. This decision was a significant pillar of what we were hoping the High Court to hear. We are deeply concerned at the precedent of the Tasmanian Full Court of the Supreme Court decision on democracy, civil society and the ability for people to defend nature.”

“The ramifications of this decision go well beyond the forests of north east Tasmania and the forests of Krushka’s that are now listed for logging and burning any day now. It also impacts those working to protect the Tarkine, Southern forests, Eastern Tiers and the habitat of countless endangered species threatened by logging. We’re heartened that there are so many people and organisations also committed to protecting our forests, and this setback will not stop the long and proud campaign to end native forest logging. Our forests are worth more standing.” concluded Ms Morris.

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