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Eden RFA [Regional Forest Agreement] options released for consultation.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Senator Robert Hill,

Minister for the Environment

 

John Anderson,

Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

 

May 15 1998

 

EDEN RFA OPTIONS RELEASED FOR CONSULTATION

 

Federal Environment Minister, Robert Hill, and Federal Primary Industri es and Energy Minister, John Anderson, today welcomed the release of a joint NSW-Commonwealth report, “Towards an Eden Regional Forest Agreement”.

 

The report outlines a range of possible scenarios for the Eden Regional Forest Agreement (RFA). Governments are now seeking comments from the community about those scenarios before the Agreement is finalised.

 

The Ministers reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment to an agreement which BOTH supports regional employment and protects the region’s important environmental values.

 

The RFA process has closely involved the local community and stakeholder groups, who participated in developing a variety of scenarios for the agreement.

 

“Consultation and research for the RFA confirms the importance of forest-based industries to the future prosperity of the region,” Mr Anderson said.

 

“The RFA is an opportunity to restore certainty and confidence to local businesses and communities.”

 

“Off-reserve arrangements will also be an important part of the final RFA, aiming to ensure best practice in sustainable forest management.”

 

Senator Hill said the report was the culmination of a joint effort to identify the range of environmental, social and economic and heritage values in the region.

 

“The RFA will aim to meet the nationally agreed criteria for environmental values such as biodiversity, old-growth forest and wilderness,” he said.

 

“It will ensure that the forests of Eden are maintained for future generations with ecologically sustainable management of the whole native forest estate, both within and outside conservation reserves.”

 

The Ministers stressed that scenarios outlined in the report provided the basis for public consultation and did not reflect a preferred position of either the NSW or Commonwealth governments.

 

“The report should not be seen as predetermining the outcome of the RFA process,” they said.

 

“Governments will consider comments received during the public consultation period before negotiating the final RFA.”

 

The report will be widely circulated throughout the region over the six week consultation period.

 

The subsequent RFA will decide the future of the region’s forests for the next 20 years, with provision for five-yearly reviews.

 

Media Contacts:

Matt Brown (Senator Hill’s Office): 02 6277 7640

Robert Hayn es (Mr Anderson’s Office): 02 6277 7520