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State government commitment to forest agreements essential to the future of Australia’s

The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) is urging state governments to follow the lead of the
Federal Government by reconfirming their commitments to Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) as the
cornerstone of forest management in Australia, thereby ensuring ongoing investment and growth in
Australia’s sustainably managed forest industry.
“Federal Forestry Minister Tony Burke showed strong leadership with his recent commitment of the Federal
Government to RFAs saying they are the primary mechanism to sustain jobs and support industry, to ensure
high conservation values, and for the protection of biodiversity and threatened species,” said NAFI CEO Allan
“I’ve written to the forestry ministers in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia asking
them to do the same. I think it is fair to say that their response will be a litmus test of their commitment to the
future of sustainable native forests and plantations and the broad range of economic and environmental
benefits they provide.
“RFAs are a 20 year plan for 10 forest regions across Australia developed on the back of the largest scientific
assessment and stakeholder consultation ever undertaken for Australia’s forests. Each one is an agreement
between the Commonwealth and relevant state government therefore the states need to follow the
Commonwealth’s lead and recommit to them.
“This is only way to ensure the certainty of resource security needed to generate investment in such a long
term endeavour as Australia’s sustainably managed forest industry, while also removing the temptation to use
our sustainably managed forests as a political bargaining chip. As we have seen in the past, governments can
be tempted to compromise on previous commitments and take a hit at industry by locking up additional areas
of forest as a way of winning green preferences.
“Ongoing investment and growth of the forest industry is expected to deliver 16,000 new jobs, $19 billion in
new investment, largely in rural and regional Australia and provide an annual carbon sequestration of 81
million tonnes by 2020, but this is only possible with state government commitment to resource security, as
provided through the RFAs.
“The RFAs established a comprehensive and world class forest reserve system and accredited state level
ecologically sustainable forest management systems, to ensure the ongoing protection of biodiversity values
and the sustainable harvest of renewable forest resources in multiple-use areas.
“As part of the recommitment by governments we would like to see the RFAs rolled over or extended to
provide ongoing 20 year security for the industry, timber communities and the multiple-use and conservation
reserves established as part of the RFAs. This is important as most of the RFAs have less than 10 years before
their termination date and every year that goes by is one less year of certainty for investment certainty for
industry and job security for timber communities.
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“In addition, our sustainably managed native forests and plantations have a significant role to play in climate
change policy and can help our economy move to a low emissions future. Our sustainably managed native
forests provide a growing carbon store, the renewable products produced from these forests are also carbon
stores, and we can produce renewable electricity and biofuels from the woody biomass and residues. These
are opportunities for all Australians that should be recognized and form part of a recommitment to the RFAs.”