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Protesters halt logging across the state

“We ask that protesters do not enter active coupes where heavy machinery operates and put themselves and our workers in harm’s way.”

The forest protests place increasing pressure on VicForests, which lost a landmark court case last month when the Federal Court found it had unlawfully logged areas of critically endangered possum habitat.

The decision sets a legal precedent in applying federal threatened species protection laws to the logging industry in Victoria, which for more than 20 years has operated under a special exemption. And it is expected to prompt similar court challenges from environmental groups.

Some logging at Big Pats Creek, near Warburton, east of Melbourne, is now halted after a Supreme Court challenge on Tuesday afternoon granted environment group Warburton Environment, represented by barrister Jonathan Korman, a temporary two-week injunction.

The injunction orders a 20-metre border be left along a road, and around a stand of rare trees.

Spokesperson Nic Fox said local environmentalists had been protesting at the coupe for five weeks to highlight native forest logging.

“In a climate emergency, we feel it’s time to transition [into plantation logging] and protect what native forests we have left,” he said.

A protester sits in a tree at Noojee.

A protester sits in a tree at Noojee.

Two nearby coupes that were earmarked for logging are already temporarily protected by a Supreme Court injunction granted to the volunteer organisation Wildlife of the Central Highlands.

Last November Premier Daniel Andrews announced the logging of old-growth forest would end immediately, and native-timber harvesting would be “phased down” before ending completely in a decade.


Protester Sarah Day walked into a logging coupe at Mount Cole, in Victoria’s west near Ararat. She said the forested mountain was an important refuge for over 20 species of threatened flora and fauna in a heavily cleared region of the state.

The state government’s own environment assessment council has called for some sections of Mount Cole State Park to be reclassified as a national park. The government was due to make a decision in February but is yet to respond to the recommendation.

A government spokesperson said it would do so later in the year as a result of delays caused by the coronavirus and the bushfires.

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