South Sister St. Marys, Tasmania

South Sister Hearing looms closer

forestry tasmania submits evidence

In late February of this year, Forestry Tasmania was summoned to appear before the Resource Management and Planning Appeal Tribunal (RMPAT) to defend allegations that logging South Sister Coupe NI 114A was likely to cause environmental harm. The Tribunal was satisfied that there was a prima facie case to answer. On August 19, 2005 Forestry Tasmania submitted its evidence stating that logging of 108 ha at South Sister will not harm the groundwater system and land stability of the area. This evidence will respond to the substantial evidence presented in May this year by David Leaman, Ralph Rallings, Owen Ingles, David Stapledon and others on behalf of SOS.

This is a landmark step in the forest practices system, requiring Forestry Tasmania to demonstrate to an open and independent Tribunal that its operations in a State Forest are environmentally responsible. The legal team and expert witnesses for SOS will have 3 weeks to consider and respond to the evidence submitted on behalf of Forestry Tasmania. Differences of expert opinion regarding the impact of the logging operations will be considered by the Tribunal in a hearing which has been set down for 5 days in Hobart, starting on 3 October, 2005.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearing. More details will follow later.

We are coming into the final straight of a long fight on this issue. Since 2003, this fight has been made possible by the practical and emotional support of many, many people: locals from the St Marys area, by our Blue Tier friends at St Helens, by people throughout Tasmania, on the mainland and overseas. Thank you. You are all 'People of the Catchment' (but we would still welcome pledges and financial contributions to carry the fight to the end!)

In the meantime, the sun is still shining on the Sisters

Submissions from the following persons in support of Forestry Tasmania's position were filed on 19 August, 2005:

  1. Dr Emmett O'Loughlin (Hydrologist)
  2. Barry Weldon (Engineering geologist)
  3. Prof Wayne Erskine (Hydrology / Soil erosion)
  4. Steve Manson (District Forest Manager)
  5. Dr Peter McIntosh (FT Senior Scientist, Soil and Water)
  6. Dr Michael Laffan (FT Senior Soil Scientist)
  7. Peter Johnstone (Senior Forest Officer)
  8. Desmond Howe (former Forestry Manager, Fingal - re past harvesting)
  9. Charles Brother (Property Valuer)
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