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Tragic koala deaths show need for upgrade of certification standards

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 29 Oct 2013

Koala deaths that led to “environmentally friendly” certification being withdrawn from a major timber plantation company show tighter standards need to be in place, according to Australian Greens forestry spokesperson, Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Senator Rhiannon said, “The withdrawal of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for Australian Bluegum Plantations was only possible because workers blew the whistle on practices that were seeing koalas killed and maimed in western Victoria’s so called ‘green triangle’. 

“With plantations becoming an increasingly important part of the local timber industry, FSC standards need to be urgently cleaned up in order to provide protection for wildlife habitat that form in cultivated areas. 

“These regrettable incidents that have seen a number of koalas killed and injured show that industry self-regulation without oversight leads to a lack of accountability and poor environmental outcomes.

“Corporations should not be regulating themselves to make claims that they are ecologically friendly.

“The auditing process revealed that Australian Bluegum Plantations own koala management plan did not protect the iconic Australian marsupial from death during harvesting operations.

“Work on an Australian Standard for forest certification should be a priority of the Abbott government to address the failure of self-regulation and to protect koalas and other native animals.

“We understand that this work is underway. The government should keep the Australian public informed of the progress in developing an effective and appropriate standard that provides oversight for forest environment certification,” Senator Rhiannon said

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