Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) has been fined $15,000 for allegedly failing to comply with a post bushfire condition imposed to protect critical habitat in a forest near Batemans Bay.
The Site Specific Operating Condition required FCNSW to permanently retain all hollow bearing trees. Hollow bearing trees are important to many native animals in the forest, including threatened species that are dependent on these trees for their survival.
EPA Acting Executive Director Regulatory Operations Regional Greg Sheehy said these conditions were aimed at protecting our environment from further harm after the forest was damaged by fires.
“The requirement to retain all hollow bearing trees was clear and it’s concerning that better systems were not put in place to ensure compliance.
“FCNSW forest management and activities did not meet our expectations and the EPA has put them on notice that failing to meet standards is unacceptable,” Mr Sheehy said.
The Penalty Infringement Notice was issued for allegedly failing to comply in Compartment 58A in South Brooman State Forest.
In July 2020 the EPA issued FCNSW with a Stop Work Order to stop the harvesting of trees in part of the forest for 40 days, after an inspection found hollow bearing trees that were either damaged or felled.
The penalty followed the resumption of logging in that area, after FCNSW were required to put in place additional checks to ensure they met the conditions.
$15,000 is the largest fine the EPA is able to issue under the legislation.
Penalty notices are one of the tools the EPA uses to achieve the best environmental or human health outcomes.