Victorian RFA extension welcome but more needs to be done
2 April 2020
The peak organisation representing professional foresters, scientists, land managers and commercial tree-growers in Australia, the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA – incorporating Australian Forest Growers) has given muted approval to the decision by the Australian and Victorian Governments to see the Regional Forest Agreements extended to June 2030.
IFA/AFG President, Bob Gordon said it was welcome news that there would be some certainty in Victoria with the Victorian Regional Forest Agreement set to continue, but disappointing that it appeared to confirm the Victorian Government wishes the state to exit native forests.
“By renewing these agreements for only ten years and placing them out of step with all the other Regional Forest Agreements in Australia, it would appear to confirm the Andrews Government still wishes to exit native forest harvesting by 2030,” Mr Gordon said.
“This is particularly disappointing news for all those who have worked so hard, risking their lives and livelihoods to protect the community during the devastating bushfires.
“On behalf of the IFA and the Australian Forests Growers I welcome the decision to extend the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements but would ask the Andrews Government to reconsider its decision on native forests. “Harvesting of native forests in a sustainable manner not only creates employment in rural and regional Victoria, but it also further protects the environment through best practice forest management.
“Additionally, well managed multiple-use forests reduce risk to the community from a bushfire management perspective and this means in times of disaster there are resources present on the ground to protect communities from bushfires. “If the Andrews Government follows through with its ‘lock it and leave’ approach to native forests, not only will local communities suffer needlessly, but forest fire risks will continue to increase and more resources will be needed to protect the community,” Mr Gordon said.
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