Day 11

The Possums’ Case – Court Diary June 2019

Day 11: Thursday June 20, 2019

The last day of the hearing commenced with Ms Watson completing our presentation on the potential loss of exemption under Section 38 of the EPBC Act. This was followed by discussion of other issues with the partes each presenting and Her Honour raising many questions on which she is interested to receive more detailed submissions.

During proceedings Her Honour put us all on notice that she might want to call us back to Court after written submissions.

The lunch break was shorter than usual to accommodate an expected early finish. After lunch, Mr Waller informed the Court that some remaining issues would be best addressed in written submissions. During the remaining presentations Her Honour took the opportunity to reveal that the early finish had been imposed because of a proposed fire drill, which had been planned without consideration that we were in the final day of a long trial. This arrangement had now been changed, meaning it would be possible to continue beyond 3:30 but Counsel for both sides felt they were likely to finish soon after that time anyway.

Once presentations on the issues were complete, Her Honour raised some matters including, once again, the items to be placed on the Court’s website. Mr Waller responded that VicForests has concerns as some material relates to its commercial activities. Her Honour agreed that an online file does makes things more accessible – that’s the point. She made it clear that if any member of the public requests material that has been relied on in the case they will get it. Mr Delany responded that there has been no claim made for confidentiality, adding that we don’t see any reason not to make all material available, though it is voluminous.

Her Honour then closed the hearing by announcing that she would make orders for parties to exchange and file Closing Written Submissions by 2 August; Reply submissions then to be made by 30 August. After that the matter will be reserved and she will endeavour to get back as soon as possible. She thanked Council, Instructors and clients for the way the trial has been conducted, despite there being substantial differences, concluding it had been a pleasure to run this trial. With that, Court was adjourned.

The Court’s dedicated website for the case is available here – https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/friends-of-leadbeaters-possum-v-vicforests Today’s orders are here – https://www.comcourts.gov.au/file/Federal/P/VID1228/2017/3805319/event/29741058/document/1414646

Though the giving of evidence is now finished the final summaries and presentations should be very interesting and you are welcome to join us as observers in Court. We will be glad to see you – Level 8 Court B. Proceedings begin at 10:15am; allow time to get through security. The court building is next to Flagstaff Station.

You are welcome to join us in Court and we will be glad to see you – Level 8 Court B. Proceedings begin daily at 10:15am; allow time to get through security. The court building is next to Flagstaff Station, so very easy to access.

Our Court case fundraiser is still open and we are approaching our target. Thanks to all those who have already helped throughout the case, since 2017. Your amazing generosity is much appreciated and we couldn’t have engaged on this marathon undertaking without the confidence that you would all be there with us. You can still support this historic case by donating here – https://chuffed.org/project/possums-case

Finally, don’t miss 4 Corners on ABC TV next Monday, 24 June – it’s called EXTINCTION NATION – THE FIGHT TO SAVE AUSTRALIA’S ENDANGERED SPECIES. I’ll forward more information on this very relevant program over the next few days.

Today’s extraordinary photo from WOTCH reminds us of the critical role that WOTCH played in providing survey data, including photos and video, that enabled us to mount this case. With three species all photographed at one location, though at different times, it also serves to remind us that though our case has centred on Leadbeater’s Possums and Greater Gliders many other species will also benefit if we are successful.

Thanks again for your interest and the many messages of support.

WOTCH-3-stacked
Thank you WOTCH.

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Court Case: Introduction November 2017