News - 08 December 2022

Win For Precious Forest & Community Rights As Logging At Mt Tongatabu Stayed Through Court Action Despite Tasmanian Govt Games

  • Urgent injunction upheld against Tasmanian Govt logging at Mt Tongatabu through Supreme Court

  • Tasmanian Government did not contest logging ban—question of illegal logging remains unresolved in Court

  • Big win for community rights and the ‘Save Tongatabu’ community campaign

An urgent injunction has been upheld against logging by the Tasmanian Government, and its logging agency, Forestry Tasmania (FT), at Mt Tongatabu through the Tasmanian Supreme Court.

The court order forbids logging “until further order” and was not contested by the Tasmanian Government or FT (trading as ‘Sustainable Timber Tasmania’). [The ‘Blue Derby’ case, which deals with a similar legal argument, is awaiting judgment. The Tongatabu case is being put off until after the Blue Derby case is decided.]

“We are pleased that the urgent injunction secured by the Wilderness Society and a local representative of the Save Tongatabu community campaign has been upheld through the Supreme Court,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society (Tasmania).

“We were ready to go to Court but, after we filed our evidence and FT had the chance to consider it, it appears to have had second thoughts and backed down.

“This is a major reprieve for this precious forest, the wildlife that lives there and the members of the local community, who recognise there is more value in it standing than falling. We hope Mt Tongatabu never faces the prospect of logging again. The fact this forest is inside the Swift Parrot Important Breeding Area should mean something,” said Mr Allen.

“The Save Tongatabu community is delighted that this special piece of forest has a reprieve from further logging. We feel greatly for the contractors and their families who have been pawns in these unnecessary games by the Tasmanian Government and Forestry Tasmania. If they had done the right thing by stakeholders from the outset, a lot of heartache would have been avoided,” said local resident, Neil Fuller.

“It is unfortunate that the community has, yet again, been forced through the ringer by the Tasmanian Government’s game playing and FT’s brinkmanship then yet another last-minute climbdown. It appears to us like a chaotic but deliberate effort to avoid scrutiny,” said Mr Allen.

“Our belief is that this and other logging is illegal and this remains unresolved in Court. We urge the Tasmanian Government and FT to be transparent and upfront in future and prioritise the public’s Right to Know and to end, once and for all, its logging of swift parrot habitat.

“It is because of the weak and failing logging regulations in this state that more local communities will have logging suddenly sprung on them and face the prospect of their precious local forest being destroyed. This prospect is unacceptable when it comes to the public’s community rights and it’s unacceptable in the context of the worsening climate and biodiversity crises. The lack of Commonwealth Government oversight is allowing this scandalously poor self-regulation to happen.

“For decades logging in lutruwita / Tasmania’s forests has been exempt from national environment laws. The Albanese government has committed to reform these laws. Making sure these new laws apply to all sectors without exception will be a key test of success for any reform.

“It remains a shocker that the public has no way of knowing which products—paper, packaging, timber - are made from the ongoing forest destruction across lutruwita/Tasmania,” said Mr Allen.

For further comment contact Tom Allen on 0434 614 323