he promised five yearly review of the East Gippsland RFA looks like being delayed another year. Its shaping up to be a rank job an attempt to sanitise whats totally on the nose. The States do their own assessment, pretend theyve honoured their environmental duty, have token public input, give themselves a tick, and dont dare invite any independent third party audits. Both Labor and the Coalition continue to pretend their RFAs are scientific, sweet and rosy, but theyre only fooling themselves.
The review was scheduled for completion by February 2002 five long woodchip-driven years since the signing. Now they are saying the turd wont be polished until the next year when the Central Highlands RFA heap is up for a public polish as well. That gives them another 12 months to carry out some of the two-bit environmental monitoring they promised they’d do but haven’t even looked at yet as theyve been too busy overseeing the flogging of areas they should have been protecting.
Under the fanfare of signing and stitching up the thing on 3.2.97, they agreed to the following:
Point 1. ensure effective conservation outcomes.
(just how do the agreeing parties define “effective”?)
Point 6. developing and implementing Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management (ESFM)
(this is a meaningless buzz word while they continue to clearfell forests and intensively manage the regrowth)
Point 15. endangered species protection will involve ongoing cooperative work with Victorian agencies concerning East Gippsland.
(except for Potoroo tracking, we understand there is nil research going on for owls or quolls – or maybe they arent regarded as endangered yet)
Point 25. parties will report annually on their achievements using an appropriate public reporting mechanism.
(We have seen nothing but a one page tick list tat was a year late after much hassling.)
Point 26. Victoria will report on the results of monitoring of sustainability indicators.
(When and to who? Weve not seen anything and its almost 5 years since these agreements were signed).
Point 29. develop the transparency and accountability of its forest management process through the implementation of an ongoing quality assurance program. The program will be implemented, within three years, utilising expertise external to the forest agency.
(The only thing thats transparent is their determination to remain unaccountable).
Point 30. Every five years, a review of the performance of the Agreement will be undertaken.
(they now want to make this six years so they can quickly do all their conservation monitoring).
Point 35. forest management systems provide for continuing improvement in relation to ESFM.
(Were yet to see anything but increased destruction and attempts to improve management of protesters).
Point 37. developing appropriate mechanisms to monitor and review the sustainability of forest management practices… establish an appropriate set of sustainability indicators to monitor forest changes.
(By the time they get around to this therell be nothing left to monitor)
Point 38. Parties will assess the outcomes of the Montreal Process Implementation Group (MIG) process by the end of 1997. After considering the extent to which the process provides relevant indicators, the process to be used in developing indicators for application in East Gippsland will be determined.
(This assessment, considering, developing and determining is still in progress).
Point 66. (the Federal Government ) will consider financial assistance to develop sustainability indicators and work on endangered species.
(We suspect if there has been dollars offered its been token and minimal, unlike the millions industry scored).