In March 2020, just a few months after the devastating 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires, state and federal governments rolled over the controversial Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) which give logging an exemption from federal environment laws.
A new clause has been introduced where a significant event (like the 2019/2020 bushfires) can trigger a Major Event Review (MER).
The review was announced last year, but since then logging in critical habitat for threatened species has continued, and there have been no changes to logging schedules. The review is now open to public consultation and submissions will be accepted until 31 August 2021.
Our report, After the fires: Protecting our forest refuges has heaps of info to help inform your submissions. Environmental Justice Australia also released this report in April last year about the legality of the RFAs following the bushfire.
Kuark forest after the bushfires, Rob Blakers
Scope of the review:
- Looking at the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires and how they affect the Regional Forest Agreements
- How can our forest values be better managed after the bushfires and what specific values are important to you?
- Report or evidence regarding the impacts of the bushfires on forests that are important
- The current reserve system (National Parks, protections areas, reserves)
- Protection of Matters of Environment Significance (threatened plants and animals, ecological communities, old growth forests, rainforests, significance of forests to First Nations Peoples)
- The long term stability of forests and wildlife
Writing a submission:
Submissions don’t have to be long and over-complicated. Personal stories about how you have seen forests and wildlife affected by the bushfires, and submissions written in your own words will have a greater impact. The review isn't legally binding, and doesn't put in place any obligation for state or federal governments to take on board any of the recommendations. This is a major flaw in the review which needs to be addressed.
Some of the values you might share are: the importance of protecting forests and wildlife after the bushfires, supporting recovery for bushfire affected threatened species, the inherent value of forests and nature-based tourism as economic recovery following the bushfires/COVID-19, critical role of Traditional Owners and the importance of respecting First Nations Peoples rights and having the ultimate say over what happens on Country.
Keen to have your say? Read our submission guide here
We’d love to read what you submit! Feel free to forward your submission or BCC us if you’re sending it via email to [email protected]