25 August, 2011

Federal Environment Act Reform fails Forests and Climate Change

Media Release
Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA),   - Thursday 25 August 2011

Forest conservation and climate action groups across Australia today condemned the Gillard Government's failure to end years of forest destruction by leaving Regional Forest Agreements in place and exempt from Federal Environmental protection laws.

"The Gillard Government's changes to national environment legislation ignore the most critical conservation issue in Australia - that intensive industrial logging and woodchipping of native forests has unacceptable impacts on wildlife and climate change", said Peter Campbell, spokesperson for the Australian Forests and Conservation Alliance (AFCA).

“How can anyone take seriously a Government that reviews the national environment protection law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), and deliberately excludes protection of native forests?” said Peter Campbell

“The Gillard Government is determined to continue with the fiction that various Regional Forest Agreements, which overrule both the EPBC Act and corresponding State laws to enable resource security legislation for the logging industry, provide credible environmental protection for forests. It is quite clear that RFAs have failed to do this." said Peter Campbell.

"There is overwhelming evidence that RFA’s are failing to protect wildlife, water resources or account for climate change impacts of the industrial logging and associated burning.” said Prue Acton, from the South East Region Conservation Alliance.

“The Government has refused yet again to bring forests back under the protection of the EPBC Act despite widespread breaches across the country of so-called environmental protections for forests." said Noel Plumb, from Chipbusters.

There is now clear scientific evidence that industrial logging and woodchipping of native forests is destroying their capacity to absorb ever rising C02 emissions, and also releases enormous amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere.” said Peter Campbell

Mike Kelly MP, the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, recently told the national Forest and Climate Forum in Canberra that the Government intended to review the RFA’s next year, prior to their renewal.

“This ‘head in the sand’ position is not acceptable as the world spirals towards a biodiversity loss and climate change disasters. The RFA’s must be consigned to the rubbish bin of history.” said Noel Plumb.

“We need a new approach right now to rapidly move the logging industry out of native forests and into existing plantations that now dominate the market. This approach could more than double Australia’s present efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and protect biodiversity.”  said Peter Campbell.

For further comment: -

Peter Campbell (AFCA)    0409 417 504
Prue Acton (SERCA)        02 6494 5144
Noel Plumb (Chipbusters)      0425 23 83 03

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