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Stop Press! Legal injunction to stop Victorian rainforest logging - EEG leads the others - again!

VicForests up before the Supreme Court - again - for alleged illegal logging, thanks to the amazing avatars of Environment East Gippsland. Dig into your pockets, folks! EEG does more for you than your taxes!

Wednesday 14th December 2011

VicForests is again being sued in the Supreme Court over what an environment group believes is illegal logging of a very significant protected rainforest area. Environment East Gippsland, which successfully sued VicForests last year, is lodging papers for an urgent injunction this morning in the Melbourne Supreme Court to stop the logging.

“This is the third case of what we believe is illegal logging that VicForests will have to answer for”, said Jill Redwood, coordinator of the group. “The public thinks this type of lawless destruction of protected primary forest and rainforest only occurs overseas”.

“VicForests is still refusing to pay our legal costs of around a million dollars from last year, despite this being a clear court order. If they think this is preventing us taking further legal action, it’s not working. The public is so outraged about their criminal destruction, they have already donated enough for us to get this next legal action rolling.”

“In a proper democracy it should not be up to the public to enforce the law over an uncontrollable government entity. We should not be forced to ask the courts to ensure VicForests abides by the law. We are a developed country. We give millions to other countries to help them stop illegal logging of their rainforests. But in Victoria we are seeing the same happen with full support of the Baillieu government. Exploiting industries seem to be writing the government’s laws and policies now”.

This stand of forest was blockaded for 5 days last week and was broken up by police on Monday.

“It doesn’t take long for a determined crew of logging contractors to cut down the tall trees and smash down a forest of tree ferns”, said Jill Redwood “We hope this injunction will be successful”.

For comment - Jill Redwood: 51540145, Liz Ingham (in court for EEG): 0409 333 595

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Legal injunction to stop logging.
WHEN: 10:30am Weds 14 December
WHERE: Supreme Court, Court 10, cnr William and Lonsdale Street Melbourne.
WHAT: Application to stop logging in National Rainforest Site of Significance in East Gippsland. EEG will lodge writ to sue VicForests to prevent illegal logging. Meanwhile, forest activists are blockading the site.
WHO: Environment East Gippsland
"This is a National Rainforest Site of Significance. They shouldn't be touching it with scissors, let alone a chainsaw," said Ms Ingham
For comment: Jill Redwood - 5154 0145, Liz Ingham (at Court) - 0409 333 595

Environment East Gippsland presented the Court with official Victorian Government maps to show that the disputed area is a protected National Rainforest Site of Significance. VicForests submitted that the maps were wrong, and that the government department was scrambling to move the boundaries on the official maps before Court resumes next Tuesday 20 December 2011.

"It's a huge win for the forests today", said EEG secretary Liz Ingham who attended the court. "The Court stopped the logging in the nick of time, to prevent a rainforest reserve being logged."

"VicForests blamed the government, saying the rainforest reserve maps were wrong. This is a suspiciously convenient excuse", she said.

"For a very long time, the government has presented the public with rainforest reserve maps. They didn't alter the reserve boundaries when VicForests moved in to log the reserve. They only decided to move the reserve boundaries after our non-profit community environment group took VicForests to court. How convenient. VicForests is a state-owned enterprise with Premier's brother in law on the Board."

"Up here on the ground, those blockading this area hung on for their lives in the forest waiting for the result. They are absolute forest heroes", said Ms Redwood.

The case returns to Court on Tuesday 20 December at 10.30am, at which time the Court will address a further halt to logging.

For comment: Jill Redwood - 5154 0145 / Liz Ingham 0409 333 595