NSW forest agreement faces another challenge

Friday 6 Aug 2021

In a legal first, Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) is heading to the Federal Court to challenge a New South Wales Regional Forest Agreement (RFA). The North East RFA covers logging in the coastal area between Sydney and the Queensland border. It exempts logging in native forests from federal biodiversity law.

Originally signed between the Commonwealth and New South Wales in 2000, it was renewed in 2018 for another 20 years with rolling extensions that could continue indefinitely. In the summer of 2019-20, devastating bushfires ripped through native forests in the RFA region, including areas of the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

On behalf of client the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA), EDO will argue that when the North East RFA was renewed, the Commonwealth did not have regard to endangered species, the state of old growth forests or the impacts of climate change, as the EDO will argue it was required to do.

NEFA is asking the Federal Court to declare that the North East RFA does not validly exempt native forest logging from federal biodiversity assessment and approval requirements (EPBC Act). EDO Chief Executive Officer David Morris said: “We are challenging the Federal Government over its failure to assess how another 20-plus years’ of logging, against a background of a changing climate, will impact our forest ecosystems, endangered species and old growth forests

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For further coverage on this story click here.Source: ABC, EDO

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