Tragically for our forests, wildlife and climate, on 30th November 2018 the NSW and Commonwealth governments announced that they would extend the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years.
The RFAs are the deals between the state and federal governments that allow industrial logging of public forests, by effectively giving logging an exemption from Commonwealth environment law.
For the last 20 years RFAs have facilitated logging in our forests that has driven many species – including koalas, quolls and gliders – closer to the brink of extinction. NPA believes that we can do better than this, and over the three years of our campaign developed policy alternatives to protect forests and create jobs.
This decision to extend the RFAs flies in the face of scientists’ calls for thorough reassessments amidst extensive evidence of RFAs as a failed model. We know that native forest logging drives Key Threatening Processes that push forest wildlife towards extinction, lowers carbon stores of forests, is not the optimal use of our public native forests and is deeply unpopular throughout Australia.
The extended RFAs will legally permit the NSW government to implement a suite of new logging rules (called Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals) that will see a dramatic intensification of logging throughout NSW, including a new ‘Intensive Harvesting Zone‘ that overlaps strongly with NPA’s Great Koala National Park (the NSW government is clearly choosing logging over koalas), a reduction in stream buffers, further declines in hollow-bearing trees and the ability to log giant trees up to 160cm diameter. The NSW government is also proposing to ‘remap and rezone’ forests protected as old-growth when the RFAs were signed in the 1990s.
NPA is still confident that we can win the campaign to end native forest logging on public land, simply because our governments can’t go on ignoring the science and community sentiment forever!