22 Jul 2020 - Joanna Bodley
Forestry Corporation received two stop work orders in the past week relating to alleged breaches in two native forestry operations on the north and south coast.
Like the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Forestry Corporation is committed to positive environmental outcomes in the forests we manage. There are rigorous and detailed rules in place designed to provide a high level of environmental protection during forestry operations and we take compliance with these measures very seriously.
Forestry Corporation will comply with the stop work orders and is working with the EPA to seek a resolution to issues at both sites and will also work with the EPA to seek additional guidance on the practical application of these regulations to ensure we maintain the highest possible level of environmental protection and prevent future breaches.
These alleged breaches are very concerning and Forestry Corporation is employing a raft of measures to improve environmental compliance:
- We have commenced internal investigations into the two incidents
- Our external certifier under the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forestry Management, is undertaking an investigation into the two incidents
- We will conduct an independent and external review of the strength of our practices and compliance with the regulations across all of our native forest operations
While these investigations and reviews are taking place, we have redoubled our efforts in compliance across the state. We are reiterating to staff and contractors the importance of compliance and the specific requirements of operations under site specific conditions and are reviewing any additional resources needed to ensure this happens.
The forest environment is dynamic and Forestry Corporation staff carry out detailed searches ahead of every operation to identify and protect a range of specific tree species, characteristics and sizes. We have sought additional guidance from the EPA to ensure our standard operating procedures accurately apply the prescriptions.
In relation to South Brooman State Forest, we recognise the importance of hollow bearing trees and actively search for and protect a number of them in our operations. In this operation, unfortunately a number of trees were identified as containing hollows after they were felled. The site specific condition requires all hollow bearing trees to be identified and protected.
In relation to Wild Cattle Creek State Forest, we recognise the importance of giant trees and actively search for and protect them on all operations. Harvesting is already complete at this site and no further trees will be felled. More than 180 trees were protected under the giant tree prescription during this operation.
Media contact: Joanna Bodley 0427 939 543