Defending the brave people who defend our forests

By May 25, 2016March 23rd, 2018Cases, Forests

We’ve had a busy morning!

Today lawyers from our Forest Law Program, together with Danny Cash, a generous criminal barrister working pro bono, represented four forest activists in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

These forest activists were facing charges for their actions standing up against logging in Kuark forest in East Gippsland. This area is the subject of ongoing, controversial clearfelling by state logging agency Vicforests.

Kuark forest contains rare rainforest and provides crucial habitat for threatened species including the Greater Glider and the Long-footed potoroo. Kuark is also home to three threatened owl species – the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls.

Environmental Justice Australia’s Forest Law Program is providing legal representation for forest conservationists in Victoria.

Our work includes sourcing and briefing barristers to put the case to the judge and compiling material to put before the court – work necessary to ensure the activists get the fairest possible hearing and the court understands their motivations to protect this unique forest.

This is just part of our Forest Law Program. We’re also working to ensure VicForests and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land Water & Planning comply with their legal requirements to protect threatened species in areas slated for logging. We also work with citizen scientists from the local community (for example from Goongerah Environment Centre) who gather this evidence themselves, spending hundreds of volunteer hours compiling data on the plants and animals in areas that are due to be logged.

We’ve recently got a court-ordered injunctions halting the chainsaws and bulldozers at the last minute in an area slated for logging.

On a broader level, we’re using our expert legal skills to advocate for laws that truly protect our forests, including removing the exception from federal environment protection laws provided to the logging industry by Regional Forest Agreements and strengthening legal mechanisms for the listing and protection of threatened species.

This work needs every penny it can get! If you’d like to support Environmental Justice Australia’s forest work, please consider making a donation today.

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