Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull has called on Bunnings to reverse its decision to ban stocking Victorian hardwood, which was based on a court decision that was unanimously overturned this week.
The Full Bench of the Federal Court upheld VicForests’ appeal against a single-judge decision 12 months ago that found timber had been illegally harvested.
“The initial decision was immediately appealed, and I had discussions directly with the Bunnings Australia Managing Director, Mike Schneider, to express my surprise they had acted in a knee-jerk manner to a decision under appeal.
“He said at the time he would revisit the decision if the appeal was upheld. Further contact with Mr Schneider this week indicated Bunnings will reconsider their position in the coming weeks,” said Mr Bull.
“Where they go with this will be very interesting. This is a company that stocks Merbau harvested out of New Guinea, but has banned Victorian hardwood based on a court decision, that was immediately appealed and has now been overturned. I don’t see how they cannot overturn this,” said Mr Bull.
Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said today’s decision was vindication for Australia’s sustainable forest industries which are regulated to the highest environmental standards in the world.
“It is also further evidence that our sustainable forest industries provide all the necessary environmental protections for threatened species,” he said.
“This decision should put an end once and for all to the claim that RFAs somehow ‘exempt’ forestry operations from national environmental laws or oversight, and I commend the Federal Court judges for confirming this beyond doubt.”
Wednesday, 12 May 2021