RedGum Forest Action Inc v Forests NSW

EDO NSW commenced proceedings in the Land and Environment Court on behalf of Red Gum Forest Action Inc (RFA Inc) against Forests NSW. RFA Inc contended that Forests NSW was logging the Riverina Forestry Management area along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers without the requisite legal approval.

Most forestry operations in NSW are subject to Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs) and logging operations in the particular RFA area are carried out in accordance with an Integrated Forestry Operations Approval and therefore excluded from assessment under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). The Riverina area was not subject to an RFA - as the comprehensive assessment required under an RFA had not been undertaken. In 2005 the Minister ordered that Part 5 activities like those of Forests NSW are projects under Part 3A of the EP&A Act.

Forests NSW did not have an approval under Part 3A of the EP&A Act to log in this area, making the existing logging operations at the time unlawful. A Part 3A application had been lodged but no approval was granted.

As the matter was progressing towards a hearing the NSW Parliament introduced the National Park Estate (River Red Gum Reservations) Act 2010. The Act places much of the River Red Gum Forests into State Reserves and the logging that continues outside of those reserves are now subject to an approval under the Forestry and National Parks Estate Act 1998.

RFA Inc discontinued its case in the Land and Environment Court against Forests NSW.

EDO NSW would like to thank Jason Lazarus of Counsel for all of his assistance in the matter.