Action taken by Environment East Gippsland and their lawyers, Environmental Justice Australia, has resulted in VicForests today agreeing to halt logging and survey for rare wildlife and plants in a stand of East Gippsland’s forests rich in threatened species.
“Sadly, since mid-January and while negotiations have been going on, VicForests continued to clearfell this amazingly valuable forest where four rare and threatened wildlife and two plant species were discovered by volunteer surveyors” said Jill Redwood from EEG. “It’s a shame that so much has been destroyed in this time, in an area that clearly should have been surveyed by trained biologists before the chainsaws moved in”.
The species recorded in the Kuark forest about 30km NE of Orbost, were the Long-footed Potoroo, Yellow-bellied Gliders, a new species of galaxias fish that only occurs in Kuark, a likely new, as yet undescribed species of crayfish, and two rare plants that should have 250m Special Management Zones applied.
“We have to wonder what gems we have lost over the years because the state government’s logging company calls the shots on whether an area should have a survey before it is clearfelled and burnt.”
“Sadly, Minister Neville’s Environment Department consistently refuse to order VicForests to survey for rare and threatened flora and fauna in areas slated for logging, so it’s left up to community groups to engage lawyers” said Felicity Millner of Environmental Justice Australia.
“We welcome this belated action by VicForests in this instance” said Ms Millner.
“We will be watching closely how their actions are carried out and are leaving our options open at this stage”, said Jill Redwood.