Supreme Court protects rare glider from logging in Victoria

Environment East Gippsland

In a landmark decision last week, the Supreme Court of Victoria today found state-owned logging agency VicForests has logged illegally. Justice Richards ruled that VicForests must carry out effective surveys to find the rare marsupial Gliders, and then apply effective protections to avoid killing them.

This is the third court loss in just three weeks for the government’s logging agency, and the second ruling that it breached environment laws.

Environment East Gippsland and Kinglake Friends of Forests brought the case in May 2021, to protect endangered Gliders in East Gippsland and the Central Highlands.

“This is a sound ruling that will have very positive outcomes for the endangered animals whose populations have crashed severely over 60 years of logging and then the horrendous bushfires”, said Jill Redwood, Coordinator of EEG. “Greater Glider populations have gone from common to vulnerable to endangered in just 6 years.” 

“Rather than logging blind or performing a minimal ‘look-see’ survey on a tiny fraction of a forest it plans to log, VicForests now must properly detect and then protect these endangered animals where they are living.”

The judgment made clear that logging is a serious threat and cause of irreversible harm to the endangered gliders who depend on healthy forests and large trees for nesting hollows. Justice Richards stated that the “ecological evidence was that Greater Gliders would probably die” as a result of the logging.

“The law is the law. This should have been happening a decade or more ago. VicForests has been in court so many times, due to the govt regulator not enforcing environmental laws. We hope they will start to pull up their socks.”

“If native forest logging can’t be economically viable while adhering to the law, it is no longer tenable”, said Ms Redwood. “The courts are simply doing their job – enforcing our environment laws to stop endangered animals being killed by logging, as the community expects it to”. 

“The decision should mean that rare and endangered animals won’t be killed. The areas of unburnt forests that escaped the horrendous 2019-20 bushfires are now critical refuges for so many native animals -they must remain standing”, said Ms Redwood.

“If VicForests find this impossible it might be time to see the logging of native forests join the whaling industry in our history books.”

/Public Release. View in full here.