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MOTION: Regional Forest Agreements

Janet Rice 2 Dec 2016

Senator RICE: I move:

(a) notes that:

   (i) Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) have been in place as 20-year agreements, designed to manage the conservation and forestry industry considerations for key areas of Australia's public native forests,

   (ii) the first Regional Forest Agreement (RFA), the East Gippsland RFA, expires in February 2017,

   (iii) the existing RFAs are now out of date and need to be reconsidered to support conservation goals and the impacts and mitigation of climate change - RFAs have exemptions from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), and these exemptions need to be reviewed in light of key threatened and endangered species living within the designated areas,

   (iv) the required RFA reviews have not been completed, or not completed on time, for the RFAs in place - the review process was designed to improve the operation of RFAs but significant delays and deficiencies in reviews have hampered such improvements,

   (v) during the period since the establishment of the RFAs, the context and conditions informing each has changed significantly - these factors include climate change, bushfire, and markets for wood products, and

   (vi) the work undertaken by a variety of communities, organisations and scientists to improve forest management for sustainable environmental, social and economic outcomes; and

(b) calls on the Government to adopt forest management policies which ensure that the social, environmental and economic values of forests are effectively protected and managed for future generations.

Question agreed to.

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