NEFA: Logging suspended in Myrtle and Braemar State Forests until court case

“The North East Forest Alliance has taken the NSW Forestry Corporation to court in an effort to save the homes of Koalas, and 23 other threatened species, including the Southern Greater Glider, Yellow-bellied Glider, Rufous Bettong, Masked Owl and Squirrel Glider. 

NEFA has engaged the Environmental Defenders Office to commence legal proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court to challenge the validity of the Forestry Corporation’s harvesting plans for compartments 6-7 of Braemar State Forest and 10-16 of Myrtle State Forest, south of Casino. 

NEFA’s request for an interlocutory injunction to stop logging until the case was heard, was considered by the court on Wednesday 2 August. Rather than hearing the injunction, Justice Moore considered that it was best to go for an expedited hearing on the substantive case, identifying that the Court had an opportunity to hear the case soon. 

The matter is listed for hearing on the 14 August for 2-3 days. In the meantime the Forestry Corporation has given an undertaking not to fell any more trees in those compartments.

NEFA will argue that the logging operations are unlawful for several reasons – because the operations are not ecologically sustainable, because Forestry Corporation failed to consider whether they would be ecologically sustainable, and because the proposed use of ‘voluntary conditions’ is in breach of the logging rules. NEFA is asking the court to declare the logging approvals invalid and to restrain Forestry Corporation from conducting the operations.

NEFA President Dailan Pugh said:

It is great that we could win a reprieve for the Koalas in these forests that are still struggling to recover from the impacts of the 2019 wildfires.

These forests were badly burnt, killing over 70% of Koalas. After the fires, our searches have shown that Koalas are still present in both Braemar and Myrtle State Forests, but have not yet recovered.

These Koalas still need a lot more time to recover from the fires, the last thing they need is the Forestry Corporation cutting down more than 70% of the mature feed trees they need in their logging areas.

We have been asking the NSW Government for independent pre-logging surveys in State forests to identify and protect vital Koala habitat and climate change refugia, and protection of Preferred Koala Feed Trees (select species >30 cm diameter) in linking corridors. Our requests are falling on deaf ears, we hope this will make them listen.”

For further information see NEFA’s website.