Media Releases - 16 November 2022

It’s A Win: Tasmanian Government Logging Corp Concedes At 11th Hour But Swift Waylitja* Still Losing To Logging—That Could Be Unlawful

Swift waylitja (parrots) are critically endangered. Image: Chris Tzaros.

Rather than defending itself in the Supreme Court, Tasmanian Government-owned forest logging agency, Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT), yesterday offered to settle and provide the requested logging plan—less than a day before the Supreme Court hearing was due to take place.

Today, the court has now ordered that STT provide the requested logging plan after STT consented to the orders.

It has taken repeated requests, legal letters and now court action by conservationists for STT to provide access to the logging plan for forest coupe SHO45A at the Eastern Tiers. These are documents that should be public anyway. Until about two years ago, logging plans were routinely publicly available on STT’s website. Now, it seems, the community has to go to court to force information into the public domain about what’s planned for lutruwita’s / Tasmania’s magnificent forests.

While the Wilderness Society is pleased that STT is not wasting more taxpayer money spending the day fighting about this in court, we take no pleasure in accepting the last-minute offer of STT to settle out of court and provide the document sought, just hours before proceedings were due to begin.

Despite today’s Supreme Court orders that STT provide the requested logging plan, STT continues to log globally-significant forests, including the habitat of the world’s fastest waylitja*.

Together with its legal team, the Wilderness Society will closely examine the logging plan that STT is required to provide by close of business today (Wednesday), as ordered by the Court. Following this we will determine what further action can be taken.

There remain outstanding many, possibly hundreds, of requests from the community to STT asking for its forest logging plans for areas of forest proposed to be logged across the island. The public has a right to know what decisions STT intends to take with its industrial logging in these public forests and this court order supports this right. This court outcome should mean that STT now provides FPPs when they are requested or risk facing further court action.

It remains the case that the palawa people have not given their permission for these forests to be logged, nor has that permission been sought by STT or the Tasmanian government.

It’s thanks to every single one of our supporters that the Wilderness Society was able to take this action and hold STT to account for its failure to:

  • Be clear about who is making decisions that affect the swift parrot

  • Provide the public with information as to who is giving the logging of the swift parrots’ forest homes the big tick

  • Confirm to stakeholders—scientists, tourism operators, farmers—and the wider public whether the logging is even lawful

Further updates may be provided as and when the relevant logging plan is provided by STT, as ordered by the court.

*waylitja is palawa kani for parrot, and is here used with permission

For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323