Forestry Corporation has been prosecuted and fined three times in the past six days for alleged illegal logging operations in koala habitat and fire-affected forests.
Today, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced it had fined Forestry Corp $15,000 (the maximum penalty) for failing to comply with conditions imposed to protect critical habitat in Brooman State Forest near Batemans Bay after the Black Summer bushfires.
“Forestry Corporation is a serial offender,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
“It is behaving like an outlaw organisation, not a government agency entrusted with managing 2 million hectares of public forests
“This is the third time in six days Forestry Corporation has been fined or prosecuted for serious breaches of environmental protection laws.
“Where is the responsible minister, Dugald Saunders, during all this? He should publicly condemn the reckless and lawless behaviour of this agency, but we haven’t heard a peep out of him.
“The government must establish a comprehensive independent review of Forestry Corporation to ensure it acts lawfully and sustainably.
“There is little evidence the corporation is meeting basic standards under the existing arrangements. It appears to requires root and branch reform.”
The fines and prosecutions of the past week are not isolated instances. Forestry Corporation is a repeat offender, with eight alleged major breaches since April 2020.
“Part of the problem is that the fines are too small to act as a deterrent,” Mr Gambian said.
“A fine of $13,000 for a multi-million-dollar corporation is trivial. The government should increase the penalties to reflect the true harm illegal logging causes.”
Forestry Corp fines and prosecutions since 2020
- Jun 2022 – EPA fines FCNSW $15,000 for allegedly failing to comply with post-fire conditions South Brooman State Forest.
- Jun 2022 – EPA prosecutes FCNSW for alleged breaches of post-fire conditions at Yambulla State Forest, near Eden after the 2019/20 bushfires.
- Jun 2022 – $138,000 - Wild Cattle Creek State Forest
- Apr 2022 – $45,000 - Mogo State Forest
- Feb 2021 – $15,000 - Olney State Forest
- Feb 2021 – $30,000 - Ballengarra State Forest
- Mar 2021 – $33,000 - Boyne, Bodalla and Mogo State Forest
- Apr 2020 – $31,100 - Tantawangalo and Bago State Forest