Skip to main content

  MyEnvironment Inc / Work / Legal / RFA Fails  

One Stop Chop

The Environment Defenders Offices and Lawyers for Forests have just published a new report titled “One Stop Chop: How Regional Forest Agreements streamline environmental destruction.”  It provides a detailed legal review of the 15 year history of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). It was developed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups and was released on Wednesday 31st July.

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are 20-year agreements giving native forest logging operations a purpose-built legal and environmental management regime that applies to no other activity. They are in force in four states.

The report shows that State Governments have failed to manage precious forests and wildlife to the standard that would have been required if they had remained under Commonwealth control; Regional Forest Agreements should be scrapped; and moves to hand Commonwealth environmental protection powers to States should be abandoned once and for all.

FacebookBannerimage1

New Campaign aimed at scrapping Regional Forests Agreements launched today

A new media and social media campaign has just been launched nationally.

The Environment Defenders Offices and Lawyers for Forests have just published a new report titled “One Stop Chop: How Regional Forest Agreements streamline environmental destruction.”  It provides a detailed legal review of the 15 year history of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). It was developed on behalf of a coalition of environmental groups and was released on Wednesday 31st July.

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are 20-year agreements giving native forest logging operations a purpose-built legal and environmental management regime that applies to no other activity. They are in force in four states.

The report shows that State Governments have failed to manage precious forests and wildlife to the standard that would have been required if they had remained under Commonwealth control; Regional Forest Agreements should be scrapped; and moves to hand Commonwealth environmental protection powers to States should be abandoned once and for all.

“The Alliance has written to the Prime Minister and the Environment Minister, Mark Butler, informing them that we are looking into legal options if they fail to fulfil their international environmental obligations, abandon the RFAs now as legally void agreements and never allow this to happen with our other environmental treasures,” said Felicity Millner, Principal Solicitor with the Environment Defenders Office, Victoria.

The EDO review examines the legal management of forests under RFAs, including state frameworks and court battles since they were established 15 years ago. It concludes that, with few exceptions, the regulations, standards, monitoring and compliance, and enforcement by State governments have been weaker than they would have been if managed in accordance with Commonwealth environmental laws.

In particular:

  • State protections for threatened species are grossly inadequate;
     
  • The ability to change forest management to account for new information or new conditions (such as global warming) is almost impossible; Reviews of the operation of the RFAs have been inadequate;
     
  • Monitoring, compliance and enforcement by States are inadequate; and
     
  • Public (third party) participation, often vital in environmental protection, is severely restricted.

RFAs were supposedly about protecting the environment while supporting forestry workers, but this review shows that they’ve been used to prop up unprofitable logging companies at the expense of our precious forests and the wildlife they nurture.

We need stronger national environment laws and we need to fix the forest mess by scrapping the RFAs and creating a new model of protection and management. Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott need to commit to dropping all plans to turn our environment protection laws into the kind of One Stop Chop we’re seeing in our precious forests thanks to the RFAs.

onestopchop

Aust wood prodn LT trends (Ajani 2013)

SUMMARY-RFA Report

One Stop Chop: RFA Review