Our three week Court hearing to stop the destruction of our precious native forests and protect wildlife like Leadbeater’s Possum and the Greater Glider, is over. We have put all our resources on the line and EJA (Environment Justice Australia) with our marvellous legal team have worked hard to present a powerful challenge to VicForests, Victoria’s state logging agency, in the Federal Court.
We don’t regret it for a minute.
We've received such generous support from people all over the country, and overseas. This has enabled us to engage expert witnesses who have visited the forest coupes and prepared detailed reports.
We have a crack legal team, led in Court by Jim Delany QC. Now they must prepare written submissions stating our argument with necessary references, by 2 August. VicForests will do the same and we then have until 30 August to file submissions in reply. There is still work to do!
A ground-breaking challenge
The first phase of our case in 2017 was about the status of the laws that govern native forest logging. For eighteen months we have worked on building our case. Now we’re in the final phase where our independent experts will appear to present their evidence.
That evidence will show that VicForests has broken the logging rules and so lost its exemption from the federal environment law. We will also argue that the logging will significantly impact the Possum and the Glider so that it should be ruled unlawful under the federal environment law.
For 20 years, native forest logging has been a ‘protected industry’, acting as if it is exempt from federal threatened species laws. Our ‘Possums' case’ is a beacon of hope in the face of relentless destruction.
The case has implications across the country for federally listed threatened species like the Swift Parrot, the Koala and Baudin's Cockatoo in WA. That is why the Commonwealth and Victorian governments intervened in the preliminary phase in 2017.
Help present the evidence
The $35,000 we aim to raise will go towards the costs incurred presenting our case in Court. Our expert witnesses visited and reported on the forest areas in the case. As the Applicants in the case, we needed to pay for their time, travel and accommodation expenses as we brought them to Melbourne to appear in Court. We also have Court and other legal fees to meet. A small community group like ours can only take action like this with your support.
Help us present the evidence that will save the forests. We gratefully welcome every contribution.
Donate directly to Friends of Leadbeater's Possum on this page. Alternatively make a tax deductible donation to our legal team at Environment Justice Australia by clicking here.
Hint. This could be the perfect gift for possum-loving family members and friends. Just fill in their name and address when you donate.
Image. Leadbeater's Possum with thanks to Tim Bawden
More information: leadbeaters.org.au, onestopchop.org