NEFA to boycott sham 20 year RFA “consultation”

The North East Forest Alliance will be boycotting the DPI's sham consultation process on the Government's intent to extend Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years.

"The government claim that they "are working closely with all parties" but their media release was the first we were told of their intent to "evergreen" NSW's RFAs, which means they will be automatically rolled over every five years with no more that a token desktop review", said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"NEFA was intimately involved in the Comprehensive Regional Assessment undertaken before the current forest agreements. For 3 years we worked constructively with a balanced range of stakeholders to ensure the best information obtainable was collected.
"Our offer to this Government to be involved in a similar open and transparent process were rejected. This supposed consultation is window dressing for decisions already made behind closed doors.

"After 20 years there needs to be a systematic review to see how our wildlife and ecosystems have fared. The fact that Koala populations have crashed by 50% over this period attests to the need to see how other species have been impacted.
"NSW conservation groups oppose "evergreening" of the RFAs and want to see logging excluded from all public forests, with a massive rehabilitation project commenced to repair the tens of thousands of hectares of sick and dying forests created by logging", Mr. Pugh said.

"Back in 1988 NEFA rejected the State's Forest Agreement and subsequent RFA with the Commonwealth for not satisfying the criteria for the promised Comprehensive Adequate and Representative reserve system, though we welcomed the new national parks.

"There has been a progressive deterioration and rorting of the logging rules applying to State Forests since then, and the Government is intending to make the rules a lot worse this year.

"We only discovered how comprehensively the Government is intending to gut the logging rules when they were leaked to us last year, they refused to tell us.

"Logging intensity is being increased (with widespread clearfelling), mitigation measures for threatened species are being removed, erosion mitigation measures are being weakened, and the minimal stream buffers are being reduced.
"Our public forests are already being overlogged, now they are to be flogged. Meanwhile lantana and dieback are expanding in the loggers wake.

"The Environment Protection Authority are meant to ensure compliance with the logging rules but refuse to.
"Our public forests have suffered too much degradation under the current regime, and in an era of global warming cannot afford another 20 years of being exempt from State and Commonwealth environmental laws" Mr. Pugh said.

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