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Good news for Brown Mountain forest! Court upholds public interest

Who is braver or more dedicated than the activists who protect our forests?

Victoria, Australia the World owe an incalculable debt to Jill Redwood and the other members and supporters of Environment East Gippsland. Every tree saved is also a bastion for democracy and freedom, against the malignant march of concrete burocracy and the development lobby who would turn every old giant into toilet paper if they could.

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Tuesday 29th September ‘09

The Supreme Court today refused VicForests' application for up to $163,000 in security from a small environment group. VicForests was asking for this sum to be secured before a court injunction is granted to stop logging on Brown Mountain.

"If Environment East Gippsland (EEG) had been required to pay such a large sum of money, it could have stifled an important piece of public interest litigation", said EEG spokesperson Jill Redwood.

“This is a groundbreaking decision because no Victorian court has ever ordered an injunction on logging before. It is also a groundbreaking case because it is the first time that the Supreme Court has been asked to order a party in a public interest case to pay security of this type”.

"The judgment says 'this is an exceptional case', and that if logging was allowed to go ahead before the trial, there is 'a genuine risk' that the Potoroo habitat may be destroyed”, said Ms Redwood.

Justice Forrest said that the relevant laws “demonstrate the clear legislative intent that protecting threatened or endangered species such as the Potoroo is particularly important”.

“We feel vindicated by this decision today and look forward to having the case heard for the protection of the forests and rare wildlife on Brown Mountain”, said Ms Redwood.

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As Victoria's environment minister, and head of the DSE that is supposed to be managing our wildlife, he should have been with the protesters! However, was quite willing to believe there were "no long-footed potaroos" in the area and sign away the homes of these endangered animals! Pity our wildlife, sold out for a few tonnes of woodchips from massive trees up to 600 years old.

Michael Ryan, forest scientist, of VicForests, Melbourne (The Age letters 1/10) says that "management" of our forests, including its fauna and flora, requires a "holistic approach" to consider social and economic impacts, as well as environmental ones! However, with Victoria having only 8% of old-growth forests remaining, it means that the goal-posts are being continually moved towards favouring the social and economic impacts of forest management (read "logging"), and environmental-wildlife conservation arguments increasingly being pushed to the edge of the "big picture"!

We are continually being challenged by the argument of "jobs" and "economic benefits" of environmental destruction, but as human populations and their needs explode, our natural environment and the grand old stalwarts of Time are being consumed, all with the tick of "sustainable" of course!