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Leadbeaters want special leave to appeal Federal Court decision

Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum has lodged an application for special leave to appeal its recent loss to VicForests in the Federal Court to the High Court. The group is seeking special leave to appeal from the whole of the judgment of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia given on 10 May. Source: Timberbiz

In that decision Appeal Justices Jayne Jagot, John Griffiths and Sarah Derrington determined VicForests’ forestry operations covered by Regional Forest Agreements provide all the environmental protections required by national environmental laws.

They said the original judge in the action, brought by the Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum, erred in finding forestry operations needed to comply with regional forest agreements to remain exempt from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But the move has been condemned by the leader of the Nationals in the Senate and Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie.

“Environmental extremists continue to disrupt the native forest industry, effectively shutting down operations while the appeal waits to be heard,” she said.

“In the meantime, industry is left with its hands tied, unable to supply the nation with timber which is in short supply. This cannot be allowed to continue time after time.

“Being unable to harvest 44 coupes in the Central Highlands Regional Forest area means that VicForests is at risk of not being able to fill their supply contracts. This puts the livelihoods of hard-working people at risk and shows that extremists do not care about the broader implications of their actions.”

Senator McKenzie said VicForests adhered to some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world.

“Timber is a sustainable industry that is under an increasing threat from so-called ‘environmental groups’ who are not willing to examine the facts about its environmental credentials, including forest management,” she said.

“On the back of the actions of Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum Inc. and other activist groups, we still have Bunnings importing some of its timber from overseas rather than supplying Australians with stock harvested from Victoria. This shows there is undermined confidence in the logging industry due to the actions of extremists,” Senator McKenzie said.

“When you have conglomerates like Bunnings making these sorts of decisions on green lawfare, the public is misguided and ultimately, they unknowingly are unaware of the truth of matters such as this.

“This has huge and unfair impacts on the native forest industry, putting at risk real jobs in real communities. Timber workers need job certainty, and industry needs assurance that it has an economically viable, long-term sustainable future.”