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Southwest farmer fined nearly $60,000 for “shameful” habitat destruction

A man has been convicted and ordered to pay nearly $60,000 for destroying habitat by cutting down dozens of mature Eucalyptus trees in the Annya State Forest, near Heywood.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022 at 4:33 am

The hobby farmer pleaded guilty to 31 charges at the Portland Magistrates’ Court yesterday, including 30 counts of removing forest produce without a licence under the Forests Act 1958 and one count of disturbing wildlife habitat under the Wildlife Regulations 2013.

He was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay nearly $40,000 in additional costs for clearing the trees along the fence line of his property.

Conservation Regulator Authorised Officers detected the offending during state forest compliance patrols in July 2021.

They observed more than 50 felled trees, 30 of which were estimated to be more than 40 years old and would have provided crucial wildlife habitat.

His Honour Magistrate Franz Holzer described the tree clearing as “shameful”, emphasising the significance of preserving forests for future generations.

In imposing his sentence, His Honour Magistrate Holzer highlighted that it had to reflect the seriousness of the offence and needs to act as a deterrence.

The Conservation Regulator investigates all reports of illegal habitat destruction and vegetation clearing on public land in Victoria.

Anyone with information about environmental crimes, is urged to contact DELWP on 136 186. Callers can remain anonymous.

Mature eucalypt trees serve as important habitat and this illegal clearing has damaged the natural ecosystem our native wildlife depends on.

Barwon South West Forest and Wildlife Officer

The Conservation Regulator takes the clearing of native vegetation very seriously and this result should serve as a warning that penalties apply to anyone who chooses to take from state forests.

Chief Conservation Regulator


Conservation Regulator Victoria