Rare wildlife species including the greater glider and alpine tree frog are at risk of “irreparable harm” if logging continues in bushfire-hit parts of Victoria, a court has been told.
Environmental group Wildlife of the Central Highlands is fighting to stop government company VicForests logging areas hit by the recent bushfires.
“VicForests is proceeding as if the fires never happened at all,” WOTCH lawyer Kathleen Foley argued in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“There is a real risk of irreparable harm to the overall population of these species if logging continues,” she said.
The organisation argues an interlocutory injunction is needed to stop logging while the extent of the damage to flora and fauna remains unclear.
But VicForests argued there was no basis in law for the “unprecedented” order to prevent logging in 15 coups.
The timber scheme was also “nuanced” and jobs in the industry needed to be considered, lawyer Ian Waller QC said.
“The timber industry is not just about dollars, it’s about jobs, jobs for harvesters… jobs for those who receive the timber products,” he said.
“It’s about the social and communal infrastructure around places like Orbost where timber harvesting is a critical part of their life.”
WOTCH has launched a fundraiser to help continue its efforts with supporters already contributing almost $35,000 to its ‘Forests Fight Fund’.
“As the work required in this hard-fought case is mounting up, we’ve raised the target for the Forests Fighting Fund to $50,000,” the group said in a social media post.
The hearing in front of Justice Kate McMillan continues.