The Greens have condemned the wilful and deliberate destruction of our native forests by the Turnbull government, following revelations today of documents that show there are legal questions hanging over the government’s policy to extend existing logging laws under Australia’s ten Commonwealth-state Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
Media reporting today, on International Day of Forests, reveals that government documents procured under NSW freedom of information processes, show that state and federal forestry ministers recognise that there are legal and political risks of extending logging agreements without updated environmental or scientific assessments. The documents show they are seeking to avoid proper assessments or review, because they are deemed too costly.
“It’s outrageous that the Turnbull government is hellbent on simply extending the RFAs despite ministers openly discussing the legal and political risk of extending these laws without new scientific assessments,” said Senator Janet Rice, Australian Green forests spokesperson.
“Rolling these agreements over with the flick of a pen rather than undertaking new scientific assessments because they are too expensive or politically difficult is condemning our forests to destruction.”
“The federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, must not allow these laws to be rolled over.”
“Unlike the Minister, the Greens recognise the science which tells us that the Regional Forest Agreements have not worked to achieve their stated aims established 20 years ago, and have continued to call on the Commonwealth to scrap these failed logging laws.”
“Under the Regional Forest Agreements, logging operations are exempt from federal environment laws, despite several significant native forest animals being on the threatened species list, including Victoria’s state animal emblem the Leadbeater’s possum. It’s long overdue that the logging industry was subject to the same environmental process and standards as any other extractive industry.”
“Today is International Day of Forests, a day we should be recognising that our forests are worth more left standing for clean water and air, for soaking up and storing carbon, and left intact for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, than they are logged largely for woodchips.”