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    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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Urgent Action Needed by YOU

FOREST AGREEMENT REVIEWS – TIME FOR CHANGE


The forest management regimes along the entire eastern seaboard of NSW are currently up for review – in the form of five-year reviews of Forest Agreements and Approvals signed almost a decade ago.

This is an opportunity for major improvements in forest conservation, which are desperately needed in the context of a rapidly warming climate – but the NSW Government seems intent on ticking a box and continuing with business as usual.

The Government is almost five years late in undertaking these reviews, and legally required annual reports for the Agreements and Approvals have not been published since 2002.  Numerous key conservation milestones have never been met.

Let them know that’s not good enough, by making a submission to the Terms of Reference on the reviews – and while you’re at it, making a complaint to the Ombudsman and the Auditor-General about the failed implementation of forest policy over the last 10 years in NSW.

Submissions due 19th December 2008.  PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY.

See notes below on how to:
  1. Make a submission to the Terms of Reference for the Forest Agreement and Integrated Forestry Operations Approval reviews
  2. Refer the failed implementation of NSW forest policy to the Ombudsman and/or the Auditor General

  1. MAKING A SUBMISSION TO THE TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE FA AND IFOA REVIEW

DUE 19TH DECEMBER 2008

Key points to raise should include:

  • The Terms of Reference are too narrow, and should be broadened as necessary to address all of the issues that follow  – especially in light of the extensive delays in undertaking the reviews and the failure to produce annual reports for six years.
  • The reviews should ensure that major issues and threats that have arisen since the Agreements were signed are thoroughly addressed, as follows:
  1. Consider and prescribe measures to improve the climate change adaptation capabilities of forests and contribute to mitigation:
  • Conduct an assessment of the carbon storage of NSW native forests, and improve protection of high carbon storing areas.
  • Conduct an assessment of forest species that are at risk from climate change and identify improved constraints on logging to better protect them.
  • Identify and protect refugia and corridors to enable species to adapt to climate change.
  • Calculate the long-term water volumes forgone due to logging and evaluate the financial and social impacts of diminished water supplies on affected regional communities.
  • Prohibit logging on steep slopes and improve soil erosion mitigation requirements to address likely increases in rainfall intensity and erosion potential.
  1. Conduct a thorough review of listed Key Threatening Processes and other major threats and deliver much improved measures to ameliorate them, including but not limited to the following:
  • Wood-chipping – is the driver for the destructive, large-scale clearfelling of forests in south-eastern NSW, and should be immediately ended in accordance with a long-standing promise by the NSW Labor Party from 1995.
  • Native forest biomass/biofuels – this represents an emerging grave new threat to native forests along the eastern seaboard and requires urgent legal protections to prevent exploitation of forests for this purpose.
  • Bell Miner Associated Dieback (recently listed as KTP) – which threatens 500,000 ha of forests in northern NSW and is spreading rapidly without resources or regulations in place to control or prevent it.
  • Loss of hollow-bearing trees (recently listed as KTP) which represents a long-term threat to fauna in logged forests (particularly the ‘regrowth zone’) and for which current tree retention rates are markedly inadequate especially coupled with high non-compliance of these prescriptions.
  • The Terms of Reference and/or the reviews must be sufficiently broad to address the following elements,  (and the proviso at the bottom of the current Terms of Reference which attempts to rule them out should be removed):
  1. Land tenure and wilderness – as many of the milestones relate directly to the land tenure issue and a number of those milestones are known to be outstanding or incomplete.  The review should reinstate the operation of the Wilderness Act 1987 across all tenures.
  2. Timber volumes – because many of the milestones relate directly to matters which effect timber volumes and much public funding has been invested in improving the understanding of timber resources.
  3. Reserve design – as it is the subject of a number of milestones and a key element of the National Forest Policy and recent reports on Climate change and biodiversity conservation.
  • The review must not just consider, but must deliver, on milestones that have not been met such as the reservation of high conservation value Crown lands and World Heritage Assessments for east coast eucalypt forests.  All annual reports (required by the Forest Agreements) since 2002 must be available before the review begins.
  • The Terms of Reference should include an aim to assess ‘the effectiveness and efficiency of the agreement (and Approval) in meeting the Governments goal and policies’ as required by the Forest Agreement.  This should include addressing all the policies set out in the preamble to the Forest Agreement, plus more recent relevant policies, particularly the National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan and the NSW Biodiversity and Climate Change Adaptation Framework.  The review should consider achievement of milestones against the objectives of the National Forest Policy Statement across all land tenures.
  • There have been no threatened species prosecutions by DECC for five years, despite numerous legitimate complaints by the community.  This review must reverse the current slack culture of compliance in relation to logging operations, and dramatically improve the controls on logging and their enforcement.   It should recommend that third party rights are reinstated as a key measure to improve compliance in the future.
  • The review of the Integrated Forestry Operations Approval must assess the on- ground effectiveness of the license conditions in protecting threatened species and environmental features, and identify improvements.

Individual Forest Agreements and Integrated Forest Operations Approvals and the Draft Terms of Reference are available at: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/forest agreements

Please get your comments in by 19th December 2008.

Email them: info@environment.nsw.gov.au

or post to:

The Resource and Conservation Unit
Department of Environment and Climate Change
PO Box A290,
Sydney South NSW 1232


2.REFERRING THE FAILED FOREST PROCESS TO THE OMBUDSMAN AND THE AUDITOR GENERAL

Write to the NSW Ombudsman and the NSW Auditor General asking for them to inquire into the failed implementation of forest policy in NSW.

2. Ombudsman’s office
Use website for online complaints or mail to address below
Telephone; 02 9286 1000                   Fax:  02 9283 2911
Address:  level 24, 580 George Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

3. Auditor General
Website:  hppt:// www.audit.nsw.gov.au
Phone:  92757100                                Fax: 92757200
Postal Address: GPO Box 12, SYDNEY NSW 2001

Points in making your referral.
  • There have been no annual reports submitted on NSW Forest Agreements since 2002 despite a legal requirement to do so.
  • The five-year review was legally required for the UNE, LNE and Eden forest Agreements in 2004 and is only now being commenced.
  • The eight-year review of timber volumes required by the UNE and LNE Forest Agreements in 2006 was not conducted, and new long-term (20 year) wood supply contracts were signed without a review of volumes.
  • There have been no threatened species prosecutions of Forests NSW by DECC for five years, despite numerous legitimate complaints by the community.
  • There have been massive shortfalls and time delays in meeting the requirements of the National Forest Policy Statement.
  • The Government has failed to meet many of the key milestones and targets set down in the NSW Forest Agreements.
  • There is a clear bias in those milestones that have been achieved towards the interests of the timber industry and against conservation interests.
  • Key conservation outcomes required by the Agreements have not been met – including proper protection of high conservation value Crown lands and assessment of the World Heritage potential of our northern and southern eucalypt forests.
  • The Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998 has a requirement for a five year review which has not occurred.
  • Numerous key elements of the Commonwealth-State Regional Forest Agreements for NSW have also not been met, including the five-year review, the annual reports and other important provisions (including a timber review and world heritage assessment).
  • The review of the FAs and IFOAs will be a case of the Ministers reviewing their own failings and shortcomings. An independent review is required.


For more information – contact me on the numbers below.


Carmel Flint
North East Forest Alliance
16 Roslyn Ave
Armidale, 2350
Ph 0267 724904
Mo 0400 521474
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