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Trial begins for VicForests accused of unlawful logging activity threatening wildlife

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A Supreme Courtroom trial has begun between VicForests and a Victorian wildlife group in search of to guard native wildlife impacted by bushfires and logging.

The Wildlife of the Central Highlands (WOTCH) group claims VicForests has acted unlawfully by enterprise lumbering in Victoria, accusing the state-owned enterprise of inflicting additional injury to wildlife habitat after bushfires in 2019 and 2020.

WOTCH undertook the authorized motion after arguing timber harvesting within the state’s Central Highlands and East Gippsland doesn’t adjust to the Code of Observe for Timber Manufacturing.

The code outlines the requisite of conservation of biodiversity and regard of knowledgeable recommendation when logging.

WOTCH have famous a specific concern for 4 native Australian animals underneath risk together with the sooty owl, highly effective owl, higher glider, and smoky mouse.

The group was beforehand granted injunctions to place a halt to logging workout routines throughout 40 Victorian forest areas.

A greater glider peeking through a tree trunk
The higher glider is listed as threatened in Victoria with the species prone to changing into extinct within the coming years.(Provided: Gayle Osborne)

In keeping with a 2020 report from the Division of Setting, the 4 species’ habitat areas have been projected to be impacted between 35-98 per cent as a consequence of future occasions together with steady logging and fires.

WOTCH is being represented by authorized counsel from Environmental Justice Australia (EJA).

In opening remarks in the present day within the Victorian Supreme Courtroom, Richard Knowles QC from the EJA identified the 4 species have been already listed as threatened underneath Victorian laws earlier than the 2019-2020 fires, and two have been listed as threatened underneath Commonwealth laws.

“It is estimated one billion birds and mammals have been impacted as a result of bushfires,” Mr Knowles mentioned.

A Lesser Sooty Owl chick at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, April 2015.(Taronga Zoo)

In 2019 the Victorian authorities introduced it will stop native forest logging by 2030.

Allegations have beforehand been made in opposition to VicForests together with systemic unlawful logging and failing to regenerate land.

Mr Knowles spent a while talking on knowledgeable submissions, through which consultants mentioned present logging measures “have to be improved”.

VicForests is being represented by Jason Pizer QC for the defence and is anticipated to start his personal opening remarks tomorrow.

The trial will proceed for 3 weeks underneath the Honourable Justice Andrew Keogh.