Australian environmentalist groups are demanding increased fines for illegal logging in koala habitats after Forestry Corporation of New South Wales was fined $900 (Australian) for logging in the Royal Camp State Forest on three separate occasions.
“They’re taking dozens of trees out of the koala high-use areas and they’re making a lot of money out of them, and the fine’s nothing,” North East Forest Alliance spokesman Dailan Pugh told the Herald Sun. “It’s not even one tree.”
Environment spokesman Luke Foley is calling for the government to support a bill raising the maximum fine from $22,000 to $220,000 with the possibility of two years in jail.
“Increasing penalties by tenfold will help address the exceedingly low penalties for illegal forestry operations and the forestry record on complying with environmental laws,” Foley told the Sun.
However, a spokeswoman for Forestry Corporation said the $900 fine was appropriate given “the insignificant nature of the breeches.” She told the Sun that the company harvested lightly and avoided preferred koala feed trees, adding that koalas prefer managed forests.