Forestry Corporation escapes $11,000 fine

DELAYS from the EPA in pursuing fines issued to the Forestry Corporation for bulldozing through exclusion areas means they will not be paid.

The Forestry Corporation was fined $11,000 for bulldozing a road through two koala high-use trees and 24 threatened plants on private property at Whian Whian in September 2013.

North East Forest Alliance spokesperson Dailan Pugh said the group is calling for Premier Baird to intervene and establish an independent inquiry into forestry procedures.

"The EPA had a two year window of opportunity from becoming aware of the offences to taking legal action for this deliberate act of environmental vandalism, and then they waited until this time had almost expired on 11 September 2015 before issuing 2 Penalty Notices, each with a $5,500 fine, and an Official Caution," Mr Pugh said.

"Now that the Forestry Corporation has refused to pay the EPA's token fines, the EPA said they can't make them because the two years available for legal action over the offenses has expired.

"The regulatory process is broken and there needs to be an independent inquiry into the EPA's ineffective and inept regulation of both public and private forestry."

An EPA spokeswoman said the investigation was lengthy and required legal and technical advice, which meant the penalty notices could only be issued just before the statute period.



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