The fate of some of Australia's most loved forests and iconic wildlife will be decided in coming months. Will native forest logging continue to be exempt from federal threatened species laws under the 'One Stop Chop' RFA regime? Or, for the first time in 20 years, will logging have to comply with Australia's environment laws like every other industry?
Last November, Prime Minister Morrison signed up for extinction. He put his name to the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) through which the Commonwealth devolves environmental responsibility to the states and washes its hands of the outcome. Unless overturned by a court or a future government, native forest logging in NSW will remain exempt from Commonwealth environmental laws until at least 2039, even as species like the Swift Parrot, Greater Glider and Koala are pushed to the brink.
More on the RFA debacle: https://greenagenda.org.au/2019/03/signing-up-for-extinction/
A bill to repeal Victoria's Forests (Wood Pulp Agreement) Act 1996 and end the legal requirement to log the Mountain Ash Forests is being debated this week in the Victorian parliament. For over 80 years the Maryvale mills, currently owned by Australian Paper (Nippon), have had their native forest wood supply guaranteed by legislation. At the same time parent company Nippon Paper Group is importing plantation woodchips from Victoria to feed its mills in Japan. The ash forests and their wildlife are on the brink of collapse; it's time to stop.
More about Sam Dunn's bill: https://protectourforests.org.au/woodpulp-agreement-act/
More about the Maryvale mills and the legislated wood supply agreement: http://woodpulpagreement.org/
How can it be that, in one of the richest countries in the world, 500 fauna species found nowhere else on Earth are threatened with extinction? That's the question before the Senate Environment Committee which is inquiring into all aspects of Australia's faunal extinction crisis -- what's happening, what are its wider ecological impacts, who is responsible, what's failing and why. Get involved -- make a submission before 10 September 2018.
The Federal court cleared the way on Friday for the nationally significant Possums Case to continue.
Allegations that VicForests failed to identify and protect Leadbeater's Possums, Greater Gliders and their habitat in accordance with the Central Highlands RFA will now be tested in court (details and links to court documents).
Federal and state governments have legal and political concerns about extending Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) based on badly outdated science, now over 20 years old, according to reports in the Guardian’s excellent series on neglected environmental issues: ‘Our Wide Brown Land’.
The Guardian’s reports have exposed divisions between Labor and the Coalition with Labor’s Tony Burke and Joel Fitzgibbon committing to ‘proper, independent and full scientific assessments’ of RFA outcomes while Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Anne Ruston is refusing to undertake or fund new assessments, claiming that existing information is more than adequate.
World Forests Day - 21 March 2018. This week Stand up for the Forests in Perth and other places around the country. Make your voice heard in a different way by contributing your craft skills. And book now for the Forests Forever Easter Ecology Camp up at Goongerah in East Gippsland. Featured image - Lewin Forest (WAFA)
On Friday afternoon, 2 March, Justice Mortimer handed down her decision in the Possums case. The decision is lengthy and complex but conservationists said that although the argument put by Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum was rejected, as was that of VicForests, the decision gave them grounds for hope. Read the judgment here and below are the next dates and initial reactions from outside the court on Friday.
Around the country logging blockades and protests are happening and planned; a huge crowd turned out in Hobart to protect takayna/Tarkine in the run up to the Tasmanian election. Meanwhile the Victorian government sits on reported logging breaches by VicForests and the Great Forest National Park enters the Batman by-election