NEWS 27 March 2018 |
Yesterday we called on the Andrews Government to publicly rule out logging of national parks.
Today our state and federal governments announced a two-year extension of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) in Victoria.
While this is much better than rolling over the previous failed and out of date 20-year RFAs, it will still leave large areas of high-conservation forest open to continued logging, and many of our most threatened wildlife, such as Leadbeater’s possum and greater glider, at further risk as their habitat continues to be destroyed.
The RFAS provide special treatment to the logging industry, allowing for logging of our public native forests that does not require approval under national environmental protection laws. They will now remain exempt from this protection for a further two years.
None of the Victorian RFAs have met their objectives. Numbers of forest-dependent species listed as threatened continue to rise, and forest health is declining and will only get worse under climate change and the cumulative impacts of successive bushfires. Even the native forest industry is stagnating and in decline as their main resource runs out.
Moves announced today to protect small parts of the Kuark Forest in East Gippsland are welcome, but they urgently need to be formally added to Errinundra National Park in this term of government.
Any review of the RFAs needs to be rigorous, independent and open; and consider all aspects including forests in the west of our state and other non-wood forest values such as water, ecosystem services, recreation and tourism that are contributing significant sums to the state’s economy, and could contribute further.
The Regional Forest Agreements should be abandoned and replaced with improved, modern and transparent arrangements for management of Victoria’s publicly owned native forests – based on current science, and on community views about how our state forests should be valued, used and managed.
The Victorian National Parks Association will continue pushing for improved protection and management of our native forests across the state, including creating a Great Forest National Park in the Central Highlands.