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Friday analysis: VicForests’ court win at a loss with activists & Bunnings

For reasons best known to themselves the opponents of VicForests have chosen to claim some sort of victory in the case involving the Leadbeaters Possum because the Federal Court only reversed a single finding relating to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

Those opponents see that 22 grounds of appeal were not successful, and then read into that a win over VicForests.

The fact is that VicForests, having been successful with its first ground of appeal relating to the EPBC Act, did not need to proceed with the remaining 22.

And, VicForests says, only four related to findings of fact on past timber harvesting by VicForests.

VicForests further points out that the Full court itself noted that because of its decisions to uphold the appeal on the basis of ground one, the remaining grounds of appeal were dealt with in a summary way.

But of course, all this means nothing to those who would spin the result their way.

And it would seem they have been successful, with Bunnings this week deciding to maintain its ban on VicForests timber.

Bunnings said it had reviewed the court decision and repeated the line that the court had only reversed a single finding relating to the EPBC Act and upheld the judge’s 21 other findings.

Based that somewhat twisted view of the court’s findings, Bunnings again trotted out its albeit noble mantra of only sourcing timber from legal, responsibly sourced and well managed forest operations.

Puzzling in the extreme.

The CFMEU is not happy, and it will be interesting to see if they pursue any industrial action against Bunnings.

Short of more court action it is unlikely VicForests can do much more.

Bunnings, after all, can pick and choose where it purchases its stock from.

Customers can also pick and choose where they buy their timber, but sadly only those customers in the know will be in any position to perhaps boycott Bunnings in some way.

The rest of the country, and in particular metropolitan areas, need to be made aware of the situation so that they too can make a valued judgement.