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High Court rejects Appeal by Friends of Leadbeaters

The High Court has refused the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum request to appeal to the High Court in their case against VicForests. In the decision on Friday the High Court ruled that it did not find any fault with the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision. Source: Timberbiz

The Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum had sought leave to appeal a decision by the Federal Court’s decision in favour of VicForests which determined VicForests’ forestry operations covered by Regional Forest Agreements provide all the environmental protections required by national environmental laws.

“I welcome (the) decision by the High Court and am buoyed by the fact the Court won’t tolerate our judicial system becoming a battlefield for environmental activism,” Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie said.

“Supporting forestry is not anti-environment. It is fact that Australia’s native forestry operations are strictly regulated to the highest environmental standards and every tree used is replaced as the areas are regenerated and regrown by law.

“Our native forest industry supports thousands of hard-working men and women, as well as the regional communities they call home, and it is one of the most sustainable industries in Australia,” Senator McKenzie said.

“The decision gives certainty to industry that their future is viable, and this is something I have long worked to achieve, including through my Private Senator’s Bill which I introduced to Federal Parliament last year.”

The High Court’s decision has been described as vindication for Victoria’s native hardwood forest industry and the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) framework.

“Finally, some common sense has prevailed with today’s High Court decision the final nail in the coffin in this long running legal saga. The appeal decision of the full bench of the Federal Court will now stand fully vindicating VicForests,” VFPA CEO Deb Kerr said.

“Let’s be very clear, VicForests successful appeal stands meaning that the original Court’s decision has been overturned in its entirety,” she said.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said the decision vindicated Victoria’s and Australia’s native forestry industries and the national RFA framework.

“RFAs provide all the necessary environmental protections required for forestry operations. The RFA framework is robust, and I welcome the courts’ recognition of that,” he said.

“It’s also worth noting that our native forest industries are held to the highest possible environmental standards, where every tree harvested is sustainably regrown for future generations.

“The equivalent of just six trees in every 10,000 are harvested and then sustainably regrown. Our industries also produce essential products like timber pallets, where there is a national shortage leading into Christmas.

“We welcome the High Court’s decision and look forward to working with the federal and state governments to ensure native forest industries can operate with certainty going forward,” Mr Hampton said.

Senator McKenzie said that while the High Court decision was a win for industry, more still needed to be done to prevent green extremists shutting down native forest harvesting on the back of nonsensical activism.

“The current ‘palletgate’ issue really puts the impact of green extremism in perspective for people as now they will experience what happens when a sustainable, reputable industry is brought to a grinding halt because of escalating lawfare,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Beer is now being rationed across some bottle shops because brewers can’t get enough pallets to freight their products, which are made from native timber.

“Ultimately, the blame lies with the Andrews’ Victorian Labor Government for not ensuring the Victorian Timber Code is able to be clearly interpreted, and that it stands to reign in court-based activism.

“The Andrews’ Government is opening the door for repeated litigation being brought on by activist groups who will not stop until they shut down native forestry, and then they’ll move to target other sectors of the forestry industry,” Senator McKenzie said.