Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) has submitted a report to the State government detailing illegal logging of rainforest in East Gippsland. Logging of rainforest buffer zones has occurred unlawfully in a controversial coupe that VicForests stopped working in after protests from GECO and legal action from Environment East Gippsland last week.
The Department of Environment has told GECO an investigation has begun. It is the fourth investigation into VicForests’ illegal rainforest logging this year.
“The government requested data from GECO to inform their investigation. We submitted a report yesterday, we’re hopeful the Department’s investigation will hold VicForests accountable, ” said Ed Hill.
“Once again VicForests has shown contempt for the law, illegal rainforest logging operations are a far too common occurrence and VicForests still don’t seem to understand that rainforest is legally protected,” said Ed Hill.
"The only appropriate course of action is for the Department of Environment to criminally prosecute VicForests, for this clear breach of the law, they’ve been let off the hook too many times and still haven’t learned,” said Ed Hill.
“They were prosecuted by the State government in 2012 for logging rainforest and the case settled out of court. Environment groups have been requesting the details of the settlement to see what VicForests were told they have to do to improve rainforest protections, three years later the government and VicForests has not provided any information,” said Ed Hill.
“When clear and blatant breaches like this occur, it's clear no effort has been made to improve practices and logging is still occurring unlawfully,” said Ed Hill
“VicForests’ are an embarrassment for this government. Rainforest logging on the Errinundra plateau was criticised by Environment Minister Lisa Neville in April. The Minister ordered her Department to conduct rainforest spot checks before logging commences to better identify and protect rainforest. Clearly the program is not working or illegal rainforest logging such as this would not have occurred,” said Ed Hill
“VicForests simply has to ensure their operations comply with the law, it shouldn’t be that hard. However this rogue and reckless agency continues to flaunt the law. They need to pulled into line by the state government before more unlawful logging practices harm our environment,” said Ed Hill.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Hill 0414 199 645