- Monday, 5 June 2023 at 2:26 am
A 70-year-old man has been charged with 127 offences after allegedly bulldozing dozens of trees from a one-hectare area of public land in and around the Mount Lawson State Park, in northeast Victoria, in April last year.
The earthmoving business owner is accused of knocking down more than 60 large native trees, destroying wildlife habitat, and using a vehicle to damage public land without a permit.
Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers investigated following a report of large machine tracks and alleged illegal land clearing behind private property that adjoins the park.
Environmental experts assessed the site and found the felled trees would have provided significant habitat for native wildlife, including the endangered gang-gang cockatoo, and the damage will have lasting impacts on biodiversity values.
In Victoria, it is illegal to remove native vegetation on public land without authorisation. Damaging, disturbing or destroying wildlife habitat attracts penalties up to $9,246 per charge.
The man will appear before Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on 11 July 2023.
Anyone with information about illegal land clearing or other environmental crimes is urged to call 136 186. Callers can remain anonymous.