|“… an important update … Sadly, the court dismissed our arguments, meaning that the approvals are valid, and the loggers are free to move into this still-recovering habitat once again.”
“Earlier this year, the Forestry Corporation of NSW began logging the Myrtle and Braemar state forests which provide critical habitat for endangered koalas in the state’s north.
The forests were severely damaged by the ferocious 2019-20 bushfires, which wiped out an estimated 70 per cent of the local koala population.
In August, EDO lawyers went to the NSW Land and Environment Court on behalf of the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), seeking an urgent injunction to stop logging operations in these forests and to ask the court to declare the logging approvals invalid.
The bulldozers have been silent since then, while we waited for the outcome of the case.
Sadly, on Monday, the court dismissed our arguments, meaning that the approvals are valid, and the loggers are free to move into this still-recovering habitat once again.
It’s a devastating outcome for our clients and the native animals that live in these forests. But it’s not the end of the story.
With your support we can do even more to challenge decisions that put endangered native animals such as koalas in peril.
While Monday’s decision was disappointing, there was one glimmer of hope to come out of this case.
The court confirmed for the first time that the community has the right to take legal action about forestry operations in NSW, including disputing logging approvals.
This is particularly important as NSW laws explicitly attempt to reduce the community’s right to challenge conduct of the government’s Forestry Corporation regarding industrial logging in native forests.
Forestry Corporation attempted to strike out NEFA’s legal challenge but the Judge ruled that NEFA was able to bring the case.
This sets an important precedent for the community being able to hold the government corporation accountable for decisions about native forest logging.
… the road to environmental justice is long, winding and sometimes leads to disappointment.
We will be looking at this decision closely and speaking to our clients over the coming days to discuss the next steps.
And NEFA still has a case before the Federal Court challenging the whole North East Regional Forest Agreement, including on the basis that the impacts of climate change have not been properly considered. We expect a judgement on this case very soon and will keep you updated.”
Environmental Defenders Office
The EDO provides legal representation to community groups taking important action for forests and wildlife.