Forestry Company of NSW might face $1m in fines for alleged unlawful logging in koala habitat | New South Wales

The Forestry Company of New South Wales might face greater than $1m in fines for the alleged unlawful logging of bushes in protected areas, together with koala habitat, within the state’s north.

The NSW Surroundings Safety Authority mentioned on Thursday it had began 5 prosecutions in opposition to the state-owned forestry company within the land and setting court docket for alleged breaches of its licence in a forest close to Coffs Harbour.

The EPA has charged the Forestry Company for alleged unlawful felling of bushes in exclusion zones and guarded areas within the Wild Cattle Creek state forest in 2018. It’s going through two fees for logging zones thought-about “excessive use” habitat for koalas, with every offence carrying a most wonderful of $440,000.

The authority additionally alleges that the forestry company logged protected rainforest and cleared bushes inside an exclusion zone surrounding heat temperate rainforest.

The EPA’s appearing chief govt, Jacqueleine Moore, mentioned it was unacceptable to place weak species, such because the koala, in peril by breaking the foundations. “Now we have strict procedures in place to guard wildlife, and if they’re disregarded it might probably put these animals beneath menace,” Moore mentioned.

A spokeswoman for the Forestry Company mentioned in the course of the logging operations it had put aside 21 hectares of habitat “which was thrice what was required beneath the ruleset, defending an extra 6000 bushes”. She mentioned the EPA’s allegations associated to 9 bushes.

“Forestry Company recognises the significance of complying with the strict environmental laws that apply to forestry operations and carried out a radical investigation into the circumstances that led to those alleged offences,” she mentioned.

The prosecutions comply with a protracted investigation and are listed for point out within the land and setting court docket on 16 October. In July the EPA issued a stop-work order to the Forestry Company for clearing two big protected bushes in the identical state forest.