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A balanced outcome for Western Australia's forests.

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Senator the Hon Robert Hill

Leader of the Government in the Senate

Minister for the Environment and Heritage


4 May 99




Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Robert Hill, today said that the Regio nal Forest Agreement for Western Australia, signed by the Prime Minister and Premier Court, will improve protection for the State’s forests while ensuring a strong future for those that rely on forest industries.


“The RFA has increased the region’s conservation reserves to 1,047,200 million hectares and resulted in a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system that meets the national reserve criteria,” Senator Hill said.


“Many reservation targets have been exceeded and 12 new national parks will be created as a result of the Agreement.


“The protection of biodiversity is greatly enhanced in the RFA with substantial increases in the reservation of the Jarrah Blackwood and Western Wandoo forests in particular.


“I am particularly pleased that so many of regions’ centres of high biodiversity value have been included in the reserve system, including the areas of high flora diversity east of Perth and on the southern edge of the Blackwood plateau.


“Old growth reservation gains also have been significant with a large part of the additional reservation being old growth forests.


“Overall old growth reservation has been increased to two thirds of the State’s old-growth forest.


“In line with the national reserve criteria, 100 per cent of the old growth of rare or depleted ecosystems have been protected where possible, and at least 60 per cent of old growth in other forest ecosystems has been reserved.


“The agreement also includes many undertakings to improve the sustainable management of the Western Australian forests, including greater focus on cultural heritage and indigenous heritage.


“In all, the RFA has provided a good balance between the requirements of the native timber industry for certainty and sustained wood flow and the conservation requirements of Western Australia’s outstanding ecological values” Senator Hill said.


For further information: Rod Bruem 02 6277 7640 or 0411 128 582