Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Resident fined $22k over land clearing

A Koonyum Range resident has been convicted and fined by Mullumbimby Local Court after failing to check property boundaries before clearing 0.35 ha of native vegetation and constructing an unauthorised building in Mount Jerusalem National Park.

The actions breach the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2019.

With fines and a costs order amounting to nearly $22,000 (including a remediation order of $8,000), the court found the local resident had direct responsibility for the offences.

“The felling of forest oaks impacts directly on the habitat and food resources of the glossy black cockatoo, a listed vulnerable species known to occur in the area,” said NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Area Manager, Jenny Atkins.

“Trees are highly valued in the Byron Shire and their removal, without permission, is not tolerated by NPWS, or the broader community. The fines and the community correction orders imposed by the magistrate in the Mullumbimby Local Court support this.

“This sends a strong and very clear message to people that before you clear land or cut down any trees or do any building work, even on your property, you should know where the property boundaries are.

“You should always check with the local council to see what is allowed and what is not.”

Mount Jerusalem National Park is home to several endangered and vulnerable plants and animals and this sentence is a reminder that native vegetation laws must be taken seriously, she said.

“The seriousness of the offences is reflected in the penalty imposed by the court which, in addition to the fines and costs, included two community correction orders of 12 months.”

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