A Townsville logging company has been handed a hefty fine for unlawfully cutting down trees in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area near Cooktown.
The company was responsible for felling 28 trees in the World Heritage Area at Shiptons Flat, Rossville, over two weeks in late October 2020.
The species consisted of red tulip oak, black bean, red mahogany and cadagi.
Logs from the felled trees were transported to a holding yard in Townsville, with Department of Environment and Science (DES) investigators seizing the logs this month.
Investigators also executed a search warrant at Shiptons Flat and catalogued tree stumps, felled trees left in situ, and vegetation damage as a result of access tracks at the site.
The Court heard the company knew a range of approvals to log trees were required, including from the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation and the Authority, but conducted the logging despite the absence of any approvals, which led to the environmental damage.
The company was fined $10,000 in the Cairns Magistrates Court after pleading guilty, and was ordered to pay $2,000 in legal costs.
No conviction was recorded.
In sentencing, the Court accepted that the company was a small operation with no prior convictions and that it had pleaded guilty.
The Court also accepted that the company did not make any money from the unlawful logging and through its actions was helping local Elders.
The Magistrate stated that had the unlawful logging been commercial, she would have “added a zero” to the fine.
It comes after the outcome of a different court case, where a commercial logger intentionally cut down trees in order to sell them for profit, resulted in a sentence of twelve months in jail.