13 C
Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Regional Forestry Agreements failing: EDO

Latest News

While Hamas exists, Palestine will never be free

In response to David Heilpern’s article regarding antisemitism and Israel, (Echo, July 3) it is probably generally agreed that...

Other News

Day 4 of Skullcandy Oz Grom Open at Lennox Head

On the fourth day of competition at Lennox Head, Skullcandy Oz Grom Open age division competitors welcomed a change in conditions as light cross-shore winds coincided with mellow three-foot waves.

Wollongbar pod residents to be out by November

The residents of the Wollongbar Pod site have received notices, via text and letter, that they must find alternative accommodation by November leaving many residents distressed and struggling to find a place to live in the area. 

Residents face being cut from Mullum’s water 

Dozens of Mullumbimby residents located close to the town’s local water source at Lavertys Gap Weir in Wilsons Creek are uniting against a recommendation by Byron Shire Council staff to disconnect the town’s local water supply.

Public spaces or private profit?

‘We need more public spaces like libraries where the expectation is that you can be there without having to spend money.’

What price conscience?

Senator Fatima Payman's abrupt departure from the Labor Party after crossing the floor over the issue of Palestinian statehood was a very public demonstration of the tensions between party cohesion and individual conscience in the Australian political system.


Edward Kent’s letter, Wallum (June 26), tried to diminish the importance of the Save Wallum campaign to mere ‘piffle’,...

Chris Dobney

The EDO (Environmental Defenders Office) has produced a damning report on the operation of Regional Forestry Agreements (RFA) in the states, claiming they are failing the forests they are designed to protect.

It said there was an ‘inherent conflict of interest’ between forestry agencies’ commercial objectives and ‘environment and threatened species regulations, which limit the amount of forest that can be cleared’.

Northeastern NSW forests have been managed under an RFA since 2000 and the operation of a sate-managed RFA in an area effectively replaces federal government oversight under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBCA).

Local forestry groups are regularly reporting compliance failures to the media and government but there has been little sign of either state or federal governments being willing to act.

The report found that protection of forests’ biodiversity and threatened species would be of a higher standard if regulated by the EPBC Act rather than the RFA regime.

It found that reviews and state threatened species protections under the RFAs were ‘inadequate’ and said it found a high level of non-compliance with forestry regulations.

‘All states displayed a high level of non-compliance with forestry regulations, and a low level of monitoring and enforcement activity by the regulatory authorities.’

The report described the states’ approach to compliance as ‘mechanistic’ and said ‘known detrimental and significant impacts of forestry on biodiversity are often are not taken into account or managed, so long as there is compliance with the systems accredited under the RFAs’.

Local environmental activists have welcomed the report.

‘The current regulatory system for management of NSW’s public forests is clearly inadequate,’ said Susie Russell, president of the North Coast Environment Council (NCEC).

‘Cumulative impacts are killing the possibility of much of our unique wildlife surviving into the next century. The regulations are no protection because they aren’t followed anyway. There is little auditing and virtually no monitoring of impacts,’ she said.

‘The mining and coal seam gas industry is running an advertising blitz calling for environmental decision-making, assessment and regulation to be taken away from the Commonwealth and handed back to state governments. The Regional Forest Agreements are an example of all the problems with that approach,’ she added.

The North East Forest Alliance’s Dailan Pugh agrees.

He said the Commonwealth had ‘used the Regional Forest Agreement as its excuse for doing nothing, as the NSW government has removed and ignored protections for federally threatened species’.

‘The RFA has been the Commonwealth’s excuse for refusing to improve logging prescriptions for the nationally vulnerable koala, or to do anything when existing requirements are routinely ignored,’ he added.

‘The Regional Forest Agreement should not be an acceptable excuse for the Commonwealth to ignore its obligations to protect nationally threatened species.’

Echonetdaily has reported numerous compliance failures in NSW northeast forests the last two years alone, such as the logging of old-growth forest and the failure to take account of koala populations.

The report says, ‘there is an inherent conflict of interest in state forestry agencies having a significant role in implementing threatened species regulations at a site-specific, on-the-ground level, without the requirement for government approval. State forestry agencies, who all have commercial objectives, seek to maximise the resource they are able to exploit and thereby maximise their returns. This objective is in direct tension with environment and threatened species regulations, which limit the amount of forest that can be cleared.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The state forestry is, and always has been, nothing more than a publicly funded subsidy to private mills that are legendary in terms of their inefficiency and wasteful short-sighted rape of publicly owned forestry resources, that could have been managed on a sustainable basis if not for the greed and stupidity of the stakeholders concerned.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A self-hating Jew

A self-hating Jew means ‘antisemite’. David Heilpern’s 3 July article was underpinned with lies, and hateful sentiments toward one group of Australians: the Jewish...

Losing town water access

I grew up and live in Mullumbimby, and I know locals have a strong opinion about the Byron Shire Council. I had always given...

Lavertys Gap history

The Lavertys Gap hydro power station was installed in 1919. In 1939, during the Great Depression, people had no money, and Council decided to...

Electricity lines clipped and lines come down in Lismore

Police have confirmed that a truck clipped powerlines today on Dawson Street, Lismore.