In response to the Andrews Government’s announcement that it will review Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), Australian Conservation Foundation campaigner, Jess Abrahams, said:
“The comprehensive review of Victoria’s main Regional Forest Agreements is a small yet welcome step forward. But under Premier Andrews’ watch our state’s magnificent tall forests will continue to be clear-felled, bulldozed and burnt while the review is underway.
“RFAs are an out-of-date loophole exempting destructive logging from national environment law. The review will at least give the law a chance to catch-up with the latest science and the worsening conditions on the forest floor.
“We thank Premier Andrews for resisting the Turnbull Government’s push to roll over RFAs for another 20 years without check. We also note the small area of precious old-growth forest in East Gippsland that has been protected from logging. It will need to be put in national park in this term of government to ensure it is permanently protected.
“But in the meantime, destructive logging of tall forests in the Central Highlands and other parts of Gippsland will continue. These are the forests that serve as Melbourne’s lungs, filter our clean drinking water, and provide critical habitat for threatened creatures like the Leadbeater’s Possum and Greater Glider.
“All areas of high conservation forest should be protected from logging while this important review takes place. Premier Andrews must also act now to create the Great Forest National Park before the November state election.
“Daniel Andrews should have simply let these RFAs expire and stood up to the forestry union and the logging industry. The logging industry must be rapidly transitioned to plantations - it cannot expect to get clean green certification while it is still logging the habitat of threatened species.
“Ultimately, today’s announcement cannot hide the fact that our national environment laws are broken. We need stronger new laws that will protect our forests and wildlife from unsustainable logging.”