Environmental groups, including The Wilderness Society, are saying the new NSW Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) will drive more native species to extinction and ensure the collapse of NSW forests.
This follows briefings between Commonwealth and NSW governments. The group is claiming that the Commonwealth have accepted at face value the assurances given by NSW in relation to protecting threatened species when they should be ensuring no more species become extinct.
‘The process is completely broken,’ said Peter Robertson of The Wilderness Society.
‘We’re in a terrible new reality where no-one is taking responsibility for our natural heritage and they’re passing the buck between each other. The RFAs are, pure and simple, a licence to destroy our forests with impunity. We urgently need better laws that can protect nature.’
The group, that also includes the National Parks Association of NSW, North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), the North Coast Environment Council and the South East Regional Conservation Alliance, are also saying that the Commonwealth government has failed to challenge NSW on cherry picking research in regards the impact of logging on carbon stores – despite its own documents stating that logging reduces the carbon stores of forests.
Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist with the National Parks Association of NSW said, ‘It’s painfully clear that no concrete data was used to assess the impacts of the last 20 years of logging before committing to another 20. There has been a complete failure on the part of the Commonwealth to discharge its duty to protect matters of national environmental significance. That is simply inexcusable.’
The next Murray-Darling
They point out that the lack of accountability of governments, and their overriding drive to maintain wood supply to industry, makes a Murray–Darling Basin scenario of ecosystem collapse almost inevitable for NSW forests.
‘The unfolding ecological catastrophe we are witnessing right now in the Murray-Darling shows what happens when the Commonwealth fails to hold the states accountable and step in to protect the public interest,’ said Susie Russell of the North Coast Environment Council.