Currently, logging in RFA regions is exempt from Commonwealth environment laws (EPBC) because the RFAs are assumed to protect the environment – simply because RFAs claim they do.
There was an interesting little report from a bunch of Federal senators in late April who were looking into the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC). The Senate Committee agreed that the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) should be cleaned up. The reform of RFAs would make sure they actually deliver environmental outcomes, which they don’t now. This weakness was highlighted by Bob Brown’s legal case against the Wielangta logging in Tassie.
Reform of these agreements would also mean that appeal rights and enforcement would be no weaker than the EPBCs.
Logging destruction in RFA regions like East Gippsland currently doesn’t have to abide by the EPBC Act. The RFAs will be reviewed independently and an interim report is due sometime in June.