The federal coalition government has recently announced its intention to roll-over the regional forestry agreements with state governments. Quoting Assistant Minister for Agriculture Anne Ruston, the ABC report the government is “very supportive of the regional forest agreements” and “very pleased with the overall results”.
Taking a less contentious stance, former logger and now senator for Victoria Ricky Muir, supported renewing the RFAs but ‘ the Government should seize the opportunity to update them.’ Senator Muir went on to suggest ” . . . without the RFAs, loggers would have to work under more stringent environmental laws.” Exactly what this means isn’t clear, given the states devise their own environmental laws and the RFA’s are effectively vacuous when it comes to enforcement.
Naturally, others are less supportive and as indicated in the flyer below, another coalition are holding a ‘meet the candidates’ meeting, in Bermagui next weekend.
I understand the former Labor member will be attending, although Labor ‘has not made its position on the RFAs clear as yet.’ The current Liberal member for Eden-Monaro is yet to confirm his attendance, but it seems unlikely.
Of course there have been many forest management failures since the RFAs were signed. Although when it comes to acknowledging and addressing die-back, all sides have failed.
In that regard, an OE&H koala survey team has recently been active within the fenced exclosure area. If community engagement was a consideration, local landholders might anticipate notification or even an invitation to participate in surveys, adjacent to their properties. There is none of that, again confirming the bizarre secrecy behind anything to do with koalas tends to exclude true community engagement.
Rumour has it that the surveys now include some sort of tree crown assessment. What this entails isn’t clear, however, it is unlikely to pick up the most recent change. I can’t be sure when koala surveys were last undertaken in the area but, over the past year a brown stain has appeared on many sections of the fence. The stain can be found under every Silver-top ash (E.sieberi) growing next to the fence. To date, I haven’t noticed the ‘weeping’ stains under any other eucalyptus species.
Historically, Silver-top ash has been the eucalyptus most likely to regenerate after logging in the Eden RFA region, so it is frequently the most numerous species. It seems reasonable to suggest that this recent development, as curious as it is disturbing, requires some investigation. Regrettably, experience suggests the OE&H’s interest in forest health issues is on the same low level as its interest in community engagement and local knowledge.
Not that this should be surprising, given the OE&H’s main task is ‘regulating’ FCNSW, to provide the illusion of sustainable management, under the RFAs.