Forest campaigners welcome Bill to give public right to prosecute logging  law breaches


Regional forest campaigners have welcomed a Private Members Bill introduced in State Parliament this week by Greens MLC and forestry spokesperson, Dawn Walker.

The Bill aims to remove a uniquely restrictive provision in the NSW Forestry Act which prevents any individual or organisation apart from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) from prosecuting logging breaches in court.

Convenor of the Chipstop campaign, Harriett Swift, who is also Deputy Convener of the South East Region Conservation Alliance said that this reform is long overdue.

“In NSW we have the surreal situation where only one arm of government (the EPA) can prosecute another, the Forestry Corporation.”

“If the court finds the Forestry Corporation guilty, it gets a slap on the wrist or a small fine.”

Ms Swift said that the NSW law is the most restrictive of any State in Australia and originates from the Eden Regional Forest Agreement.

“Many people look at the tiny number of prosecutions in NSW and think that this must mean everything is OK,” she said.

“In the south east things are definitely not OK. We have had hundreds of instances of breaches of the law reported but either no action is taken or a token penalty is imposed,” she said.

“The small number of prosecutions in NSW has been tiny compared to other States and gives a very misleading impression about the standards of native forest woodchipping in this region,” Ms Swift said.

3 May 2017