One Stop Chop report

How Regional Forest Agreements Streamline Environmental Destruction

In 2013 Australia’s Environment Defenders’ Offices were commissioned by Lawyers for Forests, Environment East Gippsland, MyEnvironment Inc and the South East Region Conservation Alliance to review the performance of RFAs 15 years after their introduction. The conclusion – RFAs have never delivered the benefits claimed for them. Biodiversity would be better protected under the federal EPBC Act than it is under RFAs.

From a legal perspective, the main reason the RFAs have failed is that States do not take the regulatory and legal actions required to adequately protect matters of national significance. This failing cannot be addressed by differently wording the RFA and strengthening States’ obligations: rather, the failure is fundamental to the concept of the RFAs and of devolving control of matters of national environmental significance from the Commonwealth to the States.

The situation hasn’t improved in the subsequent five years.