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Immediate halt to Wielangta logging sought in Federal Court.



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Senator Bob Brown Senator for Tasmania

Immediate halt to Wielangta logging sought in Federal Court

30th May 2005

Brown says laws protecting species facing extinction should be upheld

Greens Senator Bob Brown is seeking an interlocutory injunction in the Federal Court in Hobart to

stop forestry operations in the Wielangta Forest on Tasmania’s east coast near Maria Island.

Citing federally listed rare and endangered species in the Wielangta Forest, Senator Brown has

asked the court to require Forestry Tasmania to halt the forestry operations.

“Wielangta is a hot spot of rare and threatened species including Tasmania’s Wedge-tailed Eagle,

the extremely rare Wielangta Stag Beetle, Swift Parrot and Tiger Quoll. Any other destruction -

roadworks, housing or tourist developments -- would face a federal environmental impact

assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

“As the Act’s name implies, it is specially aimed to ensure protection of Australia’s wildlife like these

marvellous creatures. The problem is the disputable exemption given the woodchip industry under

the Howard-Lennon Regional Forest Agreement (RFA).

“I do not believe it was ever intended that that exemption meant loggers could drive some of

Australia’s rarest wildlife towards extinction while anyone else would face criminal charges.

“I began preparing court action in 2003 when locals brought it to my attention that the Wielangta

refuge was slated for logging. Now that Prime Minister Howard has decided to open much of

Wielangta’s high conservation value forest to logging, there is no alternative.

“Bulldozing began last week in coupe WT017E, which contains a population of Wielangta Stag

Beetles. I am asking the Federal court for an injunction to stop logging operations, to find that

logging at Wielangta is not in accordance with the RFA or the EPBC, and to declare that the

operations at Wielangta will have a significant impact on the Wedge-tailed Eagle and the Wielangta

Stag Beetle.

“I am taking this action as a Senator for Tasmania for the benefit of Tasmania. The island’s future

depends on keeping our internationally famous biodiversity (for example the Wielangta Stag Beetle

has attracted world-wide attention in scientific circles) rather than the short-term provision of

woodchips for Gunns Ltd to export to Japan.

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