The Great Forest Case


The judgment was against us as the Federal Court decided that the purpose of the RFA Act was not to protect the environment.





Download a summary of the court verdict here.


They claimed that the protection of Tasmania’s forests and wildlife was ensured by the Forest Practices Code and other policies, which are written by the Tasmanian Government. However, these policies are not legally enforceable, and the court has stated that there is no need for them to be so. This means that there are no enforceable laws that are protecting our threatened species’ habitat from destruction.  The Full Court noted the laws could be enforced through terminating the RFA.

After consultation from our expert legal team, we have decided to begin an application for special leave to appeal to the High Court. This means that we will be applying for our case to be heard by way of appeal to the High Court. We are not guaranteed of a hearing in the High Court and only cases of high public importance will be heard. We believe our case is exactly that.

We have 28 days to lodge an application for special leave to appeal. Our lawyers will need to convince the High Court the case is important enough for it to hear the appeal. We will be specifically referring to the Graeme Samuel’s Review of the EPBC Act which has found that the RFAs are not protecting our environment.

We have achieved a lot over the duration of the Great Forest Case. We have managed to halt logging in over 4,000 hectares of critical Swift Parrot habitat. We will be asking Forestry Tasmania not to log these areas until there is a decision on our application for the High Court appeal, and if we are successful in securing a High Court hearing, until a Judgment is given.

The legal costs for the application to the High Court could be $150,000 or even more if we have to cover costs if we lose.


What did our Federal court case argue?

Our case asserted that Tasmanian RFA is invalid on two grounds. Firstly, RFAs need to be legally enforceable. However, not all sections of the RFAs are, most notably the sections that relate to the management of threatened species. This means that Tasmania (through Sustainable Timber Tasmania) is not legally bound to protect threatened species. This has allowed them to log threatened species habitat for decades.

Secondly, in Tasmania, the State Government can change its legislation, policies, forest practices codes and management plans how and when it pleases, without input from the Commonwealth Government. This essentially allows the State Government to make up the rules as it suits and gives no guaranteed protection for our wildlife and environment. 

This case was run under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to protect the habitat of endangered species.


Why is it needed?

Our legal case is the best chance in a generation to end native forest logging.

Over a million hectares of Tasmania’s forests are still under threat from logging. This includes large stretches of old-growth forests, such as in takayna / Tarkine. Home to Australia’s largest temperate rainforest, takayna / Tarkine currently has over 28,958 ha of its pristine forests in “permanent logging zones”.



Several of our iconic species are seriously under threat from logging, including the Swift Parrot, Masked Owl, Tasmanian Devil and Giant Freshwater Crayfish. Of these, the species under the most serious threat from logging is the Swift Parrot. This charismatic bird is currently listed as critically endangered and is likely to go extinct in the next 10 years. The Tasmanian RFA currently allows for Swift Parrot habitat to be logged. Our case is a major step towards protecting our threatened species in native forests.

Tasmania’s Government and Sustainable Timber Tasmania are driving species such as the Swift Parrot to extinction and this case is their best chance for survival. 

It's time we have native forests evaluated by environmental scientists for protection of intact forests and endangered species, not by the foresters who are evaluating the forests for logging.



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  • Michael Rice
    followed this page 2021-04-10 17:07:00 +1000
  • Stephen Green
    followed this page 2021-02-13 18:57:45 +1100
  • Barbara Hoyt
    followed this page 2021-02-11 17:11:59 +1100
  • Rhonda and Jeff Willersdorf
    followed this page 2021-02-11 14:58:06 +1100
  • Joan Errington
    followed this page 2021-02-11 13:17:17 +1100
  • Shri Mcmillan
    followed this page 2021-02-10 21:11:51 +1100
  • Anthony Tolomei
    commented 2021-02-10 20:27:50 +1100
    The governments around the world who choose destruction over conservation should be held directly responsible for the global crisis we are already experiencing and found guilty for ignoring the overwhelming and irrefutable scientific advice to protect what little we have left. You guys are doing a great job fighting for our precious environment, keep it up, we are all behind you 100%.
  • Catherine Kookaburra
    commented 2020-12-01 21:06:00 +1100
    Long shall the tall trees live in Tasmania – I will be listening in on the case tomorrow and support you all the way, thankyou BB foundation,
    Catherine Keil
    FLbP committee Victoria
    x x
  • Catherine Keil
    followed this page 2020-12-01 21:05:11 +1100
  • Rod Anderson
    commented 2020-09-30 07:20:29 +1000
    Good on you Bob and friends. I used to be the forest campaigner at EV, and am in awe of your fabulous work over so long
  • Jenn Tranter
    commented 2020-09-17 21:00:15 +1000
    Well done, as ever, Bob Brown and team. Such brilliantly important work. Thank-you for all that you do 💚💚💚
  • Sean Burke
    commented 2020-09-17 20:29:38 +1000
    Thanks so much for what you do Bob, Jenny and the crew. The RFAs are a total fraud and need to be taken down.
  • Silly Punts
    @PuntsSilly tweeted link to this page. 2020-09-15 19:20:26 +1000
  • Francesco Recchia
    commented 2020-08-26 17:04:54 +1000
    We are here with you Bob!!!!
  • Holly Huon
    commented 2020-08-25 08:38:50 +1000
    Thankyou for this wonderfully essential work and all the team .We are so in there with you and these trees and forests we are fighting for !
  • Annise Gaffney
    commented 2020-08-22 17:54:12 +1000
    Thank you again for your tireless commitment to protecting our remaining wild places, Bob. We are so grateful for your efforts and sacrifice.
  • Veda Turner
    commented 2020-08-22 09:22:19 +1000
    All power to you Bob, and the legal team! May the forests thrive under a new positive management!
  • Joe Erftemeyer
    followed this page 2020-08-21 23:28:06 +1000
  • Michael Foley
    followed this page 2020-08-21 16:41:05 +1000
  • Allegra Biggs Dale
    commented 2020-08-21 16:11:56 +1000
    Thank you, the win will be for all living within and beyond the forests!
  • Sue Couttie
    commented 2020-08-21 13:29:09 +1000
    Donated! Good luck!!!
  • Peter Eden
    followed this page 2020-08-21 10:40:20 +1000
  • Kerry Gorman
    followed this page 2020-08-21 08:10:41 +1000
  • Manderlee Anstice
    published this page in Native Forests 2020-08-20 16:03:57 +1000