Regional Forest Agreements

RFA’s – just a giant legal loophole to destroy forests

Friday, May 13, 2016

700 pages and not one reason to keep logging forestsEast Gippsland was the first region to have its forests signed away under the appalling logging industry ‘free-for-all’ called the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). Its life of 20 years is about to expire next year and MUST NOT be rolled over for another 2 decades of legally exempt pillaging. Many reports have shown it was a massive failure for all but the export woodchip industry.

Regional Forest Agreements: Nice idea but total failure!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Originally published at: 

RFAs were designed to reduce conflict but tensions still flare up regularly. Photo: Dave Gallan

RFAs were designed to reduce conflict but tensions still flare up regularly. Photo: Dave Gallan

On Wednesday this week, the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) launched a new report entitled Regional Forest Agreements in NSW. Have they achieved their aims? In short, the answer is no — far from it, writes Dr Oisín Sweeney.

REGIONAL FOREST Agreements (RFAs) are deals between the Commonwealth and State governments that allow for logging in public native forests.

There are ten RFAs currently active in four states: Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW. They begin to expire from 2017 with East Gippsland and Tasmania first.

20 year legal exemption must go

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wednesday 3rd February marks the 19th anniversary of an agreement that has allowed the logging industry a legal exemption from Australia’s environment laws.

Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland, where this exemption from commonwealth laws was first introduced says the Turnbull government is planning to instate another 20 years of this special treatment.

“We have one more year before this archaic agreement expires. To continue this out-dated, anti-environmental exemption to the laws for a passé and declining industry is deplorable”.

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.

Our native forest regulations need to move with the times

Monday, July 20, 2015

Originally published at: 

The aftermath of a regen burn at a central highlands logging coupe

The RFAs governing forestry activities have failed to protect both the industry and the environment, says Rice. Credit: ABC Environment

The rules governing our native forests, RFAs, were drawn up nearly 20 years ago. They need to be thoroughly reviewed and updated to reflect the changes in the forestry industry that have occurred in the last two decades.

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.

Forestry agreements need a full overhaul, not just a tick and flick

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Originally published at: 

Regional Forest Agreements were supposed to give certainty to both loggers and conservationists. But they haven’t. Pengo/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY

For almost two decades, the management of forests in parts of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales has been underpinned by state and federal Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), defined as “20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests”.

The broad aim of RFAs is to “provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation”. RFAs are now up for renewal, and it would certainly be in industry advocates' interest for them to be simply “ticked off”, without the critical scrutiny that is clearly warranted.

The RFAs need to be fully reviewed, not just renewed, because they have had highly perverse outcomes – rather than helping to ease environmental problems, the agreements have actually worsened them in some cases.

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