A SAWMILLING company and three of its employees have been fined $17,500 in the Charleville Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to stealing timber.
The fines resulted from a joint investigation by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources, which had found company and its employees had failed to properly account for state owned cypress timber worth about $12,000.
The 10 separate incidents occurred from December 8, 2018 to August 22, 2019.
DAF had also determined the company and its employees are not fit and proper to undertake any further harvesting operations under the authority of the sales permit.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said the evidence clearly showed that the theft of the timber was commercially motivated, intentional and systematic and in breach of the contractor's obligations under the sales permit.
"As the company was aware of its obligations, failing to properly account for the timber represents a significant breach of trust," he said.
"It also represents a callous disregard for other members of the community involved in the timber industry whose employment might be adversely affected by the actions of the company and its employees."
Mr Furner said the investigation and prosecution by DAF demonstrated that the department took these matters seriously and would take appropriate action where required.
"Protecting the integrity of the sale and harvesting of state owned native timber is fundamental to meeting the broader community's rightful expectation that these operations are undertaken appropriately and in accordance with codes of practice, the operational harvesting plan and other legal requirements, including paying required royalties," Mr Furner said.