EJA's formidable forest litigators kept the bulldozers out of Victoria's native forests
Despite the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires wiping out vast swathes of forest and countless precious wildlife, logging continued across Victoria.
Across three complex and lengthy court cases against VicForests, EJA lawyers protected our native forests and the wildlife that call them the home.
Together these cases – and those run by our friends – set critical court precedents. Together, they protected thousands of hectares of forest and were instrumental in the government's decision to end native forest logging.
The possums case
On behalf of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum (FLbP), EJA lawyers challenged VicForests’ illegal logging on threatened species habitat in the Federal Court.
The old-growth forest case
EJA lawyers represented Fauna and Flora Research Collective (FFRC) in the Supreme Court to protect ancient forests in East Gippsland from logging.
The bushfire habitat case
EJA represented citizen scientists Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) to stop VicForests logging critical habitat after bushfires.
What happened next
In May 2023, the Victorian government announced the end of native forest logging in Victoria. This means the right to log 1.8 million hectares of land will be taken off VicForests.
The government acknowledged that along with unprecedented bushfires, court cases against VicForests by community groups and environmental lawyers were a key factor in the decision to bring forward the end of native forest logging.
While the cases were being heard, injunctions halted logging operations in large swathes of East Gippsland and the Central Highlands. Our landmark forest court cases exposed wrongdoing and set important precedents. As a result, many of Victoria's native forests are still standing.
Our friends at Environment East Gippsland, Gippsland Environment Group, Kinglake Friends of the Forest and Warburton Environment also ran important court cases that set critical court precedents, protected thousands of hectares of forest and were instrumental in the government's decision to end native forest logging.
Thanks also to the courageous Traditional Custodians, campaigners and citizen scientists who have defended Victoria's forests and wildlife for decades.
Our work together protecting Victoria's native forests is not over. We will continue to collaborate, litigate and advocate for permanent protection to keep our forests standing for generations to come.
The latest from our work protecting Victoria's forests
Epic court battle against VicForests continuesOctober 30, 2023
ACCC greenwashing complaintJuly 31, 2023
Community legal guide for forest protectors in VictoriaJuly 13, 2023
Watershed court victory against VicForestsJune 29, 2023
Court actions protect forests for communities, creatures and climateMay 30, 2023
Laws criminalising peaceful protestsMay 16, 2023
“When governments fail to protect our threatened species, it falls to community groups and public interest lawyers to hold them to account in court.
As the extinction crisis accelerates, it’s vital that our environment laws work to protect what is left.”
— Danya Jacobs, EJA Special Counsel