Federal court rules on Possums Appeal

31 May 2021

In May 2021, the full bench of the Federal Court overturned the landmark win in the case to protect the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and vulnerable Greater Glider from logging.

The appeal was won on a single ground – that logging has a wide exemption from federal environment law even when conducted in habitat critical to the survival of wildlife facing extinction, and in breach of state law.

Importantly, VicForests failed on all other 30 grounds of appeal. Key findings that stand in the original judgment include that:

  • logging is permanently destroying habitat critical to the survival of the Leadbeater’s Possum and Greater Glider
  • logging is a cause of the decline of important populations necessary for their long-term survival
  • current reserves are inadequate to protect the species from their high risk of extinction

The appeal outcome means that despite these important findings, the Court decided that VicForests’ logging operations are exempt from the federal environment laws designed to protect those very species.

We are now working with our client, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum, to appeal to the High Court and are applying to keep injunctions in place for the 66 forest areas subject of the case home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and vulnerable Greater Glider.

As Steve from Friends of Leadbeaters’ Possum said, “this battle is not yet over.”

Legal cases like this run can run for many years. In these critical times, we rely on our generous supporters to provide sustainable funding to cover ongoing legal costs. If you haven’t already, please consider becoming a monthly donor. Your ongoing support will help put the best case forward for the forests and wildlife we love and depend upon.

Let's use the law to create a radically better world.