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Brown Mountain: What price justice?

Brown Mountain - Historic win for Victorian forests hangs on funding indemnity

Monday 14th September

Ed: Shakespeare wrote that the quality of mercy is not strained but falls from heaven like the rain ...
Not much rain and not much justice in Victoria, if you don't have money...
BUT there is still hope and this case is too important to lose:

In an historic win for an environment group, the Victorian Supreme Court today decided it is appropriate to grant an injunction restraining government logging monopoly VicForests from logging two areas of forest on Brown Mountain in East Gippsland.

"This is the first time a court order has been made to prevent the destruction of old growth forests in Victoria until a trial about the lawfulness of the logging is completed", said Jill Redwood, coordinator of Environment East Gippsland, the group that took the extraordinary court action.

Money required to bring our own government to justice

"The only reason the injunction wasn't granted today is that VicForests has asked the Court to order EEG to provide a large amount of money to secure its undertaking to pay any damages which flow to VicForests from the granting of the injunction. This will be argued in court on Thursday," said Ms Redwood.

Click here to find how to send money to EEG to help

"After we discovered a rare Long-footed Potoroo in the area a few weeks ago, VicForests still insisted that it would log the area immediately. We had to rush this to court to stop them," said Ms Redwood.

In his judgment, Justice Forrest referred to photographs of logging, and said they "demonstrate the apparent total obliteration of the area of native forest as a result of logging and the subsequent burning off. To put it bluntly, once the logging is carried out and the native habitat destroyed, then it cannot be reinstated or repaired in anything but the very, very long term."

Of course, that does not mean that anyone would then be able to repair it, any more than we have repaired the forest where our cities now stand. Once that forest is gone, to all intents and purposes, it is gone forever - and the species within it never to regenerate.

“If an injunction is granted on Thursday, it will last until we go to trial to argue about whether logging this old growth forest and the effects on its wildlife is lawful."

“Brown Mountain's forests have been the litmus test for the state government's commitment to forest conservation since 1989, when they were first declared National Estate by the Commonwealth Government but clearfelled by the State Government", said Ms Redwood.

It should be the government upholding the law to protect our wildlife, not fighting against it

"When will the Brumby Government get the message? It should be the government upholding the law to protect our wildlife, not fighting against it."

The endangered wildlife identified around Brown Mountain Creek includes the Sooty Owl, Long-footed Potoroo and Orbost Spiny Crayfish as well as the sensitive Greater Glider and Yellow-bellied Gliders.

The matter returns to Court before Justice Forrest on Thursday 17 September 2009.

People with guts also an endangered species which needs protection

Please help Jill Redwood and the EEG group. People with guts in Victoria are almost as rare as the long-footed potoroo. Let's help to make brave people prepared to fight for justice flourish too!

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The DSE are responsible for our wildlife. However, I wonder how long Gavin Jennings, our Environment Minister, or his staff waited to conclude that there were no long footed potoroos or any other endangered species present at Brown Mountain? This area is known to contain rich densities of arboreal mammals. East Gippsland is one of the last three known sites where the potoroos still exist. Did he actually go there and observe? Did he or his staff actually put their heads out of their government sponsored car window? Do they even care if they are threatened? Probably not! There is no obligation for DSE to protect or conserve endangered species. They “may” at their discretion, but not if VicForests can make profits from woodchips!

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, logging old growth ‘wet’ forests means they are changed from a fire-resistant form to a much ‘drier’ and fire-prone ecosystem, reducing the resistance and survivability of these forests to wildfire.

Even 600 year old trees don't stand a chance against the lure of immediate financial gain or the few local jobs. Our "environment" Minister is clearly more interested in profits, economic gain and a few rural votes than protecting species and their habitats. With the little remaining old-growth forests in Victoria, this further loss of habitat will ensure that long footed potoroos don't come back, and have even less chance of surviving mega-fires, introduced species and climate change!

Gavin Jennings should be speaking out for our biodiversity’s protection, not private “green” groups sponsored by individual donations.