Boral (as Allen Taylor & Duncan’s Timber) summons to Forests NSW & the State of NSW for alleged breach of Wood Supply Agreement, seeking admission and damages. (27pp pdf scan attached, 1Mb, tasty reading!)
MEDIA RELEASE 17 October 2011
NEFA welcomes the belated prosecution of Forests NSW for logging an Endangered Ecological Community in Doubleduke State Forest, west of Evans Head in north-east NSW.
The prosecution was commenced by the Office of Environment and Heritage in the Land and Environment Court on Friday in response to detailed complaints made by the Clarence Environment Centre and NEFA over 16 months ago.
As well as logging, killing and damaging some 1,500 trees and shrubs in the Endangered Ecological Community Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest, NEFA reported breaches of numerous statutory licence conditions, including failure to identify and protect Yellow-bellied Glider feed trees, locations of endangered plants, and a wetland
NEFA spokesperson, Dailan Pugh, said that since then Forests NSW and their Minister have repeatedly claimed that they did nothing wrong. “We welcome this opportunity for the truth of our claims to be tested in court”.
“Due to removal of third party rights we were not able to take proceedings ourselves and have had to rely upon the Office of Environment and Heritage to act on our complaint”.
“We have since made similar complaints about logging in Grange State Forest west of Grafton and Wedding Bells State Forest north of Coffs Harbour and hope that they will be similarly investigated and prosecuted should the evidence warrant it”.
“We have assessed that Forests NSW are liable for fines of up to $16 million for logging the endangered ecosystem at Doubleduke. In the result of a guilty finding, we trust that the court will ensure that any resultant fines are sufficient to act as a meaningful deterrent and that appropriate rehabilitation orders are issued”.
“We hope that this signifies a new will to enforce threatened species laws in north-east NSW’s public forests”. Mr. Pugh said that when they were recently (8/06/2011) tested in southern NSW, Justice Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court commented on Forests NSW that ‘the number of convictions suggests either a pattern of continuing disobedience in respect of environmental laws generally or, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to compliance with such laws’.
NEFA’s Doubleduke audits are available at:
Forests NSW’s culture of denial and cover-ups, and ineffective regulation, are responsible for Forests NSW’s repeated failures to comply with NSW’s environmental laws according to the North East Forest Alliance.
Commenting on Forests NSW’s denial of allegations of breaches of environmental laws for protection of the Endangered Oxleyan Pygmy Perch, two Endangered Ecological Communities, Endangered plants and Koalas in logging operations in Wedding Bells State Forest, inland from Woolgoolga, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh said:
“Over the past 18 months our audits have exposed systematic breaches of the licences and conditions Forests NSW are required to apply when logging public forests in north-east NSW.
“What we find most disturbing about Forests NSW’s denials is their refusal to admit and learn from their mistakes. Because of this culture of denial they repeat the same breaches time and time again.
“This culture led Justice Pepper of the NSW Land and Environment Court to recently (8/06/2011) comment on Forests NSW that ‘the number of convictions suggests either a pattern of continuing disobedience in respect of environmental laws generally or, at the very least, a cavalier attitude to compliance with such laws’.
“NEFA is particularly concerned that Forests NSW rely upon inaction by the supposed regulators, Fisheries NSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage, to justify their culture of denial.
“Last year NEFA identified similar breaches of legal requirements to protect Endangered Oxleyan Pygmy Perch, an Endangered Ecological Community, Endangered plants and Koalas in logging operations in Doubleduke State Forest inland from Evans Head,
“We had these breaches verified by independent botanists and zoologists. It took the Office of Environment and Heritage over six months to investigate our complaints. The then Minister for the Environment said that many of our complaints had been confirmed. Yet a year after we first reported them the Office of Environment and Heritage are yet to take action on a single one of our confirmed breaches. They keep telling us that they haven’t completed their investigations.
“Now Forests NSW are using the inaction of their Government colleagues as justification for denial of our complaints over Wedding Bells. It is apparent that until they are brought to account they will go on flouting NSW’s environmental laws.
“It is clear these breaches are both serious and systemic. Katrina Hodgkinson and Robyn Parker, Minister for the Environment, need to urgently instigate a full and independent inquiry into Forests NSW’s ongoing failure to implement the 1999 Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals and the ongoing failure of both Fisheries NSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage to ensure compliance with environmental laws,” Mr Pugh said.
BORAL are trying to get their wood certified as Forest Stewardship Council ‘lite’ known as Controlled Wood. If successful they will be able to say that all logging on private and public land in NSW both native forests and plantations, is done without damage to ‘high conservation values’.
High Conservation Values include:
1. Areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values (e.g., endemism, endangered species, refugia);
2. Areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant large landscape level forests, contained within, or containing the management unit, where viable populations of most if not all naturally occurring species exist in natural patterns of distribution and abundance;
3. Areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems;
4. Areas that provide basic services of nature in critical situations (e.g., watershed protection, erosion control);
5. Areas fundamental to meeting basic needs of local communities (e.g., subsistence, health); or,
6. Areas critical to local communities’ traditional cultural identity (areas of cultural, ecological, economic or religious significance identified in cooperation with such local communities).
As any observer of forestry practises in NSW would know. These values are not being respected or protected. In many areas they are being destroyed.
The certifying body Woodmark, (Soil Association) are seeking comment from stakeholders before deciding whether to award BORAL the light green tick.
You will find the two related documents linked below.
The file CA-CW-COC-007 etc contains a questionnaire. Please complete it and send it in to Woodmark. Send photos of some logging in your area as well. If you are sending your response by email please send us a copy too.
Submissions close June 13
You can email us at email@example.com