Regional Forest Agreements

The Regional Forest Agreements were a multi-million dollar government set-up to pretend the forest battle had been solved by balancing all values. In effect it allowed unlimited woodchipping, paid lip-service to conservation, promised hundreds of jobs that never eventuated and made laws that took any responsibility away from the feds for looking after nationally threatened wildlife.

It effectively took the problematic forest debate away from the Commonwealth government and handed the controversial issue to the states.The RFA was an expensive sham designed to appear balanced and scientific. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, it’s been an 18 year relentless rampage and the forest conflict has intensified. This is just another in a long line of processes the government keep placing before the public, and like all those before it has profited only one party – the profiteers.

These RFA’s have effectively facilitated the destruction of many valuable areas that were critical for the survival and ongoing evolution of species. Jobs have been lost due to the growing preference for pine timber and the unchecked dominance of the jobs-poor woodchipping industry. Environmental obligations have never been honoured. Yet in 2017, the Turnbull government is set  to roll them over unquestioningly for another 20 years.

Legally exempt extinction?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our state and federal governments signed away our native forests exactly 19 years ago today (3rd Feb 1997). They were deemed exempt from commonwealth environmental laws. Ever since our forests have fed a massive overseas woodchip market.

This immunity from the law will end next year and the Turnbull Government wants to roll over this special treatment without pause or scrutiny.

Much of our wildlife is now critically endangered due to ongoing destruction of habitat. Thousands of hectares of our original rich forests have been and are still being converted to uniform single species tree crops across the country; a desert compared to the once diverse forests brimming with birds and wildlife.

Life after the RFA

Monday, April 27, 2015

Since the East Gippsland RFA was signed in February 1997, we have seen:

  • licences issued for unlimited woodchip exports from the region
  • a five year permanent blockade of the Goolengook heritage listed old growth forest. Hundreds of people were arrested. Politically and financially this was costly to the government and what remained was eventually protected.
  • areas which have previously been identified by the government as having national and state significance for biological values have been logged.

Newman Govt - opens up Qld to logging!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

industrial rainforest species

Queensland was the only state that managed to do away with their clearfelling of native forests as a result of the RFA. It also has no woodchip industry, but Campbell Newman now wants both by the looks.

The Queensland govt gave the go ahead in February to log almost 2 million hectares of forest and woodlands previously excluded from logging!

How much can one forest bare?

Friday, March 3, 2006

The Tambo or Gippsland forests, north of Bairnsdale, first suffered a 700% increase in woodchipping after its RFA was signed in 2000. On top of that, they were burnt in the 2003 fires and have been "salvage" logged at eight times the legally sustainable yield level since then.

RFAs all but sunk

Sunday, April 3, 2005

The East Gippsland RFA had its eighth anniversary on the 3rd February. We were told all that time ago that it was to protect the forests, but conservation promises have never been honoured while woodchipping volumes have more than doubled. The five yearly review has not happened.

Tasmania needs help

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Whistle blower exposes corruption in Tasmania

A greying Tasmanian forester of 32 years experience has spilt the beans on broad-scale illegal destruction of the state's public forests. He claims corruption and collusion by and between the logging industry and Tasmanian Government has been rampant since the signing of the RFA five years ago. Bill Manning was giving evidence to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committee in October. He gave evidence under subpoena.

RFA goes up in smoke

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The Regional Forest Agreement promised the MAXIMUM amount of logs that could be taken from public forest, while providing the MINIMUM area to meet conservation criteria. No allowance was made for fire. There was no margin of error for events outside the control of governments. If fires destroy even part of the reserve system or "available" forest, the whole RFA breaks down.

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