Court orders timber cutter to pay more than $40 000

Hay Local Court yesterday (6 December) ordered a Swan Hill timber cutter to pay more than $40 000 in fines, legal costs and reparation.

Mr Adrian Beattie was convicted on two breaches of the Forestry Act.

He was fined a total of $2900 and ordered to pay legal costs to Forestry Corporation totalling $ 6616.

In addition, Mr Beattie was ordered to pay $31 022 to be recovered by way of royalty for the unauthorised cutting of red gum trees in McFarlands State Forest near Hay.

The breaches involved the unauthorised cutting of 1109 red gum trees and damaging a further 26 red gum trees in McFarlands State Forest.

Forestry Corporation officers commenced their investigation in May this year after receiving information about the illegal cutting of timber.

Forestry Corporation Riverina regional manager Mike Thompson said that the decision by the court emphasised that timber cutters must make sure that they establish who owns the land and trees before any timber cutting commences.

“This is a significant fine that sends a strong message to timber cutters that the judicial system views the illegal cutting of timber belonging to the State as a very serious matter,” Mr Thompson said.

“This activity also adversely impacts on licensed timber processors who have existing supply arrangements with Forestry Corporation to harvest the timber from Crown-timber lands in a controlled manner.”

Media contact: Mike Thompson on (03) 5881 2266.