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Urgent bid to stop parrot habitat logging

An urgent bid to prevent logging in critically endangered swift parrot habitat in Tasmania will come to a head in court unless an interim agreement is reached to protect significant trees.

The Bob Brown Foundation has applied for a Federal Court injunction to protect more than 3200 hectares of native forest in the island’s east.

Justice Duncan Kerr on Tuesday set down a hearing for January 11.

Justice Kerr instructed state-owned forestry company Sustainable Timber Tasmania to reach an agreement to stop logging in coupes containing certain feeding and nesting trees between now and the hearing.

If the company agrees, a hearing won’t be needed.

Lawyer representing Sustainable Timber Tasmania, Shaun McElwaine SC, told the court there were only three logging coupes in the area undergoing or slated for imminent forestry activity.

He said old growth trees, the likely nesting sites of swift parrots, had been mapped and could not be logged.

The Bob Brown Foundation says the Eastern Tiers forest has been identified as important habitat by scientific experts.

They say an injunction to stop logging is urgently needed amid the parrot’s summer breeding season.

A Federal Court decision is pending in broader anti-logging legal action undertaken by Dr Brown against Sustainable Timber Tasmania and the state and federal governments over forestry agreements his foundation believes are unlawful.

Dr Brown was arrested twice last week, along with several other activists, at anti-logging protests in Tasmania’s east.

State Resources Minister Guy Barnett described the protests as an outrageous attack on jobs.

A recent study revealed there were fewer than 300 of the migratory swift parrots remaining in Australia.

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