A new report released today has found that Tasmanian laws and the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement (TRFA) are failing to protect forests and threatened wildlife or achieve ecologically sustainable forest management.
The Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments recently commenced a review of the TRFA and proposed extending the TRFA by 20 years beyond its 2017 expiry date. Today’s report, State forests, national interests: A review of the Tasmanian RFA, seeks to inform the review process.
Commissioned by the Wilderness Society and prepared by EDO Tasmania, the report analyses the performance of the TRFA and the legal framework for managing natural values in forests. It concludes that the current Tasmanian framework fails to meet national standards for nature protection.
“The Regional Forest Agreement was signed between Tasmania and the Australian Government in 1997. The agreement made logging operations in Tasmania exempt from national laws that protect threatened species and other natural values on the condition that they would be protected under Tasmania law. This report shows that on multiple fronts logging in Tasmania’s forests is not and often cannot satisfy that condition,” said EDO Tasmania lawyer, Jess Feehely.
The report includes case studies that highlight the failures of the RFA, including the ongoing logging damage to important Swift Parrot habitat – a nationally endangered species that breeds in Tasmania and spends winter on the mainland.
“The so-called ‘duty of care’ agreements between Tasmanian Government departments mean that a maximum of 10% of a coupe can be set aside from logging, even if expert government scientists say more is required to protect Swift Parrots,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.
“There is on-ground evidence that Swift Parrot habitat continues to be damaged by logging. However, the exemption established through the TRFA restricts the power of the Commonwealth Environment Minister to intervene. If Tasmanian law is not protecting the species from being logged to extinction there is very little Greg Hunt can do to protect the species on the ground.”
“The signs to date are that the Tasmanian RFA review process will not address deep structural problems. The 36 recommendations in the Wilderness Society’s new report are a constructive contribution to addressing the RFA’s failure to protect natural values in Tasmania’s forests.”
“As the first of 10 RFAs to be reviewed across the country, the Wilderness Society will be asking Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister Paul Harriss, and other stakeholders to grasp the opportunity to address fundamental problems, rather than taking a tick-and-flick approach that locks in another 20 years of failure.”
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• p, in Comments: Geez folks you may as well ask the pope to convert to Zoroastrianism. We all know because we were taught in Science at school that when the big bang happened that the world was divided into logging coupes. It is not so obvious but has been shown that they only way that a logging coupe can be changed is to make it bigger if anyone complains about proposed destruction by wastrels. (see Lapoinya coupe reports).