Extinction crisis inquiry

The Senate has begun a broad-ranging inquiry into Australia’s faunal extinction crisis. It will look at the conservation status of Australia’s nearly 500 threatened fauna species, the wider ecological impact of faunal extinction and the adequacy of the government’s measures to protect them. Many of these species are forest-dependent and impacted by logging under the protection of the RFA exemption.

The closing date for submissions is 13 August 2018 and the inquiry is due to report on 4 December 2018.

This is the first chance for a long time to put nature on the national agenda and discuss what’s really needed to tackle Australia’s extinction crisis.

Here are some articles to get started:

A national disgrace – Guardian article
Australian Life – Green Agenda

RFA Act Repeal Bill

RFAs are enabled by the federal ‘logging law’ (Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002) together with the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

In September 2017, Greens Senator Janet Rice introduced a bill to repeal the RFA Act.

February 2018. Read second reading speeches on the RFA Act Repeal Bill on behalf of the Greens (Janet Rice), Coalition (Anne Ruston) and Labor (Deb O’Neill)

What if there wasn’t an RFA?

Industries other than native forest logging don’t have an exemption from the federal EPBC Act.  They must comply with both state and federal legislation when seeking approval for mining, development, roads and other actions that are likely to have a significant impact on matters of national environmental significance.

If the RFA exemption expired or was abolished, proposed native forest logging would continue to require approval under state laws and processes but would also require EPBC approval if it was likely to impact on federally listed threatened species or other matters of national environmental significance.