Media Releases - 14 November 2022

State government loggers VicForests again found to be providing illegally logged wood to sawmills and packaging manufacturers

Greater glider. Image: Justin Cally

The Wilderness Society provides the following statement following the Victorian Supreme Court orders in the case of Environment East Gippsland v VicForests and Kinglake Friends of the Forest v VicForests.

On 4 November, the Supreme Court found that State agency VicForests had logged illegally and failed to protect two iconic animals of Victoria’s tall forests—the endangered greater glider and the vulnerable yellow-bellied glider.

Justice Richards said this state logging was posing “a threat of serious and irreversible harm” to the gliders and ordered injunctions on logging in parts of the State. Following the judgement, VicForests has declared a “stand down” of native forest logging in some areas. On 11 November, the Supreme Court ordered VicForests to conduct surveys to detect any gliders prior to logging. If gliders are found, VicForests must leave significant parts of the forest unlogged to preserve their habitat.

Wilderness Society Corporate Campaigner Adele Chasson says: “The Wilderness Society stands with local groups Environment East Gippsland and Kinglake Friends of the Forests, and thanks them for their work in uncovering the harm caused by native forest logging. This legal success must be a step towards the protection of these forests, which is desperately needed after the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires and in the era of climate change.

“Worryingly, this judgement casts an even deeper shadow of doubt over the practices of VicForests. It raises serious legality concerns for all native forest logging in Victoria.

“That’s why corporate players in timber and packaging supply chains must take urgent action by immediately removing any wood sourced from VicForests from their supply.”

Two weeks out from the Victorian state election, scrutiny of state government logging is intensifying, with the ABC revealing old-growth protection promises made in 2019 haven’t been adhered to.

Adele Chasson says: “This ruling makes it all the more urgent for the next Victorian Government to bring forward the planned 2030 exit from native forest logging. The Government should ensure a ‘just transition’ for those involved in the native forest logging sector and diversify regional economies.”

At a time when the Federal government has committed to “zero new extinctions”, logging has been proved to bring greater gliders and yellow-bellied gliders perilously close to extinction. This is further evidence of the disaster caused by the existence of Regional Forest Agreements.

“Strong new national nature laws are necessary—this latest court ruling proves that nature laws must apply to all sectors to effectively stop extinction,” says Adele Chasson.

Australia has just joined the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership at COP27, after signing the Glasgow Declaration last year to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030—these pledges must now be fulfilled with real protection for Australia’s precious forests and forest wildlife.

For more information please call Adele Chasson on: 0437 796 276