Feds investigate state logging agency on breach of commonwealth enviro laws

Victoria’s faunal emblem, the Leadbeater’s Possum. David LindenmayerHealesville based environment group, MyEnvironment has identified a legal clash between the EPBC Act and the RFA Act. They believe our protected state faunal emblem, the Leadbeaters Possum, is having its habitat cleared against the state/federal agreement (RFA). They are using evidence that was raised during their court case to ask Tony Burke’s ...

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RFAs told to get real

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, ...

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Is logging illegal in East Gippy now?

A landmark Federal Court decision last December prevented logging in Tasmania’s Wielangta forests. Because the ruling questioned the ability of a Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) to protect threatened species, it also questions the legality of East Gippsland’s logging.

Attempts by the Commonwealth to hand over responsibility for protecting three federally listed species to the State have failed. This was the decision in Brown v Forestry Tasmania. It compels the Commonwealth to pick up the responsibility, by cancelling the bizarre loophole that ...

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How much can one forest bare?

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.

Salvaged to death

Since they lie in between the controversial forest campaign areas of the Central Highlands and East Gippsland, overstretched conservationists have sadly not kept a check on the Tambo forests. The area ...

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RFAs all but sunk

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.

It is now totally obsolete and should be publicly scrapped by the Bracks Government. While the RFA is in place it allows the appalling management of forests to continue unchallenged – as the presence ...

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Tasmania needs help

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.

Bill Manning was one of only two Government officers ...

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RFA goes up in smoke

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.

These roughly slapped together documents were signed off for each region. The promise of “certainty” for everyone – especially ...

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What the new Federal RFA Bill means

Up until March 14th, the RFAs were merely an agreement, not legally binding documents. Labor and Liberals worked like best mates to railroad this legislation through in an early morning Canberra sitting. Its passage was met by a huge cheer from both parties. It successfully allows the Feds to wash their hands of any responsibility on forests. If they do step in to save an area for World Heritage or due to a new discovery, we, the public, will have ...

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Will you still love me tomorrow? In the morning after the $300M Regional Forest Agreements party, Australia’s woodchippers answer with a resounding “no”.

Never a generous suitor, the woodchipping industry has now all but deserted Australia’s political parties. The Forest Products Association (FPA) has even dumped Fred Nile!

With twenty years of woodchipping safely in the RFA bag, they are virtually invisible on the latest list of political donors. Invisible, that is, except for the loggers union, the CFMEU.

Figures just released by ...

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