Wednesday 10 January 2024

Common-sense prevails in Federal Court Decision on Regional Forest Agreements

Forestry Australia President Dr Michelle Freeman has today welcomed the Federal Court’s Decision to uphold a Regional Forest Agreement in New South Wales.

“Common-sense has prevailed today, native forestry can have a strong future in Australia,” Dr Freeman said.

“Forest managers, growers, scientists and workers will breathe a sigh of relief that the challenge by the North East Forest Alliance to the Regional Forest Agreement covering North Coast NSW native timber harvesting operations has been dismissed.

“Our Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) time and time again have proven to be a successful way of sustainably managing Australia’s forests for all their values, and the Federal Court has confirmed this today.

“In public native forests that are available for timber harvesting, our RFAs have protections in place for conservation and heritage. This adaptable multi-layered approach ensures key forest types and biodiversity are managed and conserved across the landscape.

“The findings of the Federal Court today confirms that RFAs achieve what they set out to do, with Justice Perry confirming the Court’s view that the RFAs provide an alternative mechanism through which the objectives of the national environmental laws can be achieved through a rigorous framework agreed by State and the Federal governments.

“It is clear, RFAs strike the right balance between the sustainable harvesting of timber, and providing rigorous environmental protections.

“Our forestry sector, its workers, families and communities that depend on it, can now move on with certainty in their future.

“Importantly, Australia’s entire forestry sector can keep on doing what it does best; sustainably managing our forests for their environmental, social, cultural and economic values.”


Forestry Australia is an independent professional association of more than 1,200 forest scientists, managers and growers who work in native forests, plantations and provision of environmental services. Its members are committed to the principles of sustainable forest management and applying these principles to generate environmental, social and economic outcomes in all types of forests and land tenures.


Michelle has a double degree in Science (Ecology) and Forestry, and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Her PhD was in partnership with CSIRO Darwin looking at savanna fire and tree dynamics of northern Australia, as part of the Tiwi Carbon Study. She has worked in timber harvesting operations, forest management planning and regulation in Victoria and New South Wales and is currently a forest and land management consultant.

Danielle McKay
Mob: 0438 390 273