Media Releases - 27 June 2023

Supreme Court upholds finding that state government logging agency failed to protect endangered gliders

Greater glider. Photo: Doug Gimesy

Today an appeal by VicForests to overturn a November 2022 ruling that found the state-run logging enterprise had failed to protect two glider species and logged illegally was dismissed.

This is a welcome outcome for gliders and native forests, and is the culmination of years of dedicated effort from community groups Kinglake Friends of the Forests and Environment East Gippsland.

VicForests’ persistence in pushing for logging in known threatened species habitat clearly highlights the extent that government agencies like these are prepared to go to preserve desperate and unsustainable vested interests. This matter also demonstrates a real and present need for new federal environmental laws that value equitable oversight of all sectors, and abandon “regulation free zones” for damaging industries like logging.

Today’s outcome highlights the need for strong, properly enforced environmental regulation. After decades of regulators turning a blind eye, it has taken courageous local groups standing up for nature to expose rampant illegal logging. Community access to justice is vital for public trust in environmental governance.

Now, as the end of native forest logging in Victoria draws nearer, it is up to the Victorian government to support a swift transition, and focus its efforts on creating the Great Forest National Park and the Emerald Link. These proposals are opportunities for Victoria to mitigate climate change impacts, protect species from extinction, support regional communities, and deliver the protected forest areas Victorians want and deserve. The rights and aspirations of Traditional Owners, scientific consideration and community views will be integral to securing positive outcomes.

Richard Hughes, spokesperson for Wilderness Society Victoria, said, “We congratulate Kinglake Friends of the Forest and Environment East Gippsland after their tireless efforts in securing this incredible victory for not only gliders but a great number of threatened species and Victoria’s native forests.

“With an end to industrial native forest logging on the horizon, we are urging the Victorian government to ensure Victoria's native forests are managed for the benefit of the community. Creating the Great Forest National Park and Emerald Link will provide a sanctuary for threatened wildlife, and help support regional communities by providing secure and long-lasting jobs.”