A case to stop logging in over thirty areas of old-growth forest in Victoria’s East Gippsland will be heard by the state’s Supreme Court today.
Lawyers from Environmental Justice Australia (EJA), acting on behalf of the Flora and Fauna Research Collective, are seeking Supreme Court orders to compel the Department of Environment to protect the minimum required area of old-growth forest in East Gippsland.
The case also seeks orders to stop VicForests from logging areas of intact old-growth forest that have never been logged before.
The case was filed by Environmental Justice Australia in November last year initially to protect the ancient Kuark forest and a temporary injunction was ordered by the Supreme Court to halt logging until the case was determined in Court.
The case has now expanded to include over thirty areas of old-growth forest earmarked for logging in Victoria’s East Gippsland.
Defendants to the proceedings are VicForests and the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning.
The case argues that the Environment Department has not protected the minimum area of old-growth forest in East Gippsland required by law (60%), and that until it does, logging in these areas of old-growth forest is unlawful and cannot go ahead.
When this case was before the court in late October 2017, the Victorian Environment Department’s position was that it has no obligations to protect old-growth forest.
The trial will be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court, running for up to 7 days from 10 December 2018.
“With so much of Australia cleared, fragmented and degraded, it’s critical that we protect the remaining old-growth forests of East Gippsland. Home to a vast number of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth, the biodiversity of these magnificent ecosystems is vital to the health of this country.” – Andrew Lincoln from the Fauna and Flora Research Collective.