Federal and NSW Governments slipped out an extraordinary statement late on Friday evening announcing that Regional Forest Agreements would be renewed for a further 20 years. “We must wonder what they have to hide, making such a major announcement in such a furtive way,” said Deputy Convener of the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), Harriett Swift. “It is obvious that the haste in renewing the RFAs, months and in some cases years before they expire is driven by the woodchipping industry, whose Wood Supply Agreement expires on 31 December 2018 .”
“Allied Natural Wood Exports (ANWE), the owner of the Eden chipmill is the biggest single customer for native forest logs in NSW and it is clearly calling the shots.” “The Governments are making a huge mistake and are defying public opinion.” “The hasty renewal treats the forests as a ‘magic pudding’ for woodchips, when they could be valuable carbon stores, homes for wildlife and protectors of soil and waterways”. Ms Swift said: “Both Governments are well aware that new industry funded research shows almost 70 percent of Australians oppose native forest logging. The same study shows that 68% of South Coast residents oppose it. “We understand that around 85% of those who made submissions on the RFA renewal were opposed to native forest logging.” “Eden style logging is now notorious as the most intensive in NSW and Eden is leading the race to the bottom in the rest of the State. "And on a day when thousands of students walked out of school to get a message to our governments to take climate change seriously for their future. Absolutely disgusted!!!" Seán Burke Ms Swift said that the first RFA for Eden and Southern had seen record woodchip exports and massive losses to NSW taxpayers, propped up only by political will and public subsidies. “The industry has become one of the most highly mechanised, costing about $5million of investment to create a single job.” “While we are dismayed that both Governments have shown their contempt for the forests and the public by renewing these disastrous RFAs, we don’t expect them to run their full course. “It is likely that the forests will not be able to supply the wood promised and that prospective customers for these low value products will adopt higher standards and buy their raw materials from plantations.” conclude Ms Swift.
Above: Satelite image supplied.
Dawn Walker, NSW Greens MP commented of the news release at 5:30pm on a Friday "Late today the NSW and Federal Government’s rolled over the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) for another 20 years! "This is a disaster for our native forests, climate and wildlife and will see millions hectares of public land in NSW continue to be un-sustainably logged! "We are facing a biodiversity crisis, but rather than listen to the thousands of people who made submissions calling for our beautiful forests to be protected and our timber needs to come from plantations, the Government has continued down the path of forest destruction and wildlife extinction! National Parks Association of NSW were equally vocal posting on their Social media page saying "The NSW and federal governments have just signed new 20-year Regional Forest Agreements. Despite being in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, they've chosen to sentence millions of animals to death. Classy.What else is classy? They released the news at 5.30 on a Friday. Shows how popular they think logging is! More on this when they finally release the documents (media first, documents later. Classy x3). Help protect our forests from logging: https://npansw.org/npa/support-our-appeal/ "