At today’s Senate Estimates, the Nationals Senate Team secured a commitment from government that they will keep the Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs) and reject the recommendations from Professor Samuel’s review into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
“As the Assistant Minister for Forestry, my view is that we stick with RFAs, they are something that provides certainty and strength to our wonderful, world leading industry” – Assistant Minister Duniam – Senate Estimates hearings 23/03/21
Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Senator Bridget McKenzie confirmed the importance of the commitment, stating: “RFA’s are a robust and appropriate forestry agreement and have been in existence for over 20 years. Today’s commitment from the government acknowledges the industries importance and secures the long-term future of timber industry.
“The Nationals will continue to stand for rural Australians and will call out efforts from environmental vandals to rob rural Australia of a future.”
The support from the government has been recognised by an industry shocked by Professor Samuels accusations and assertions with the Chair of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Greg McCormack stating:
“This commitment also provides much-needed certainty for the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on our sustainably managed timber industries that RFAs support.”
About 70,000 Australians are directly employed in the growing and processing of our forest products and tens of thousands more whose jobs are indirectly supported by forestry. Annually, the sector also generates $23 billion of economic activity.
Forestry also provides stable, long-term employment in rural towns around Australia and the Nationals in the Senate welcome the government’s commitment to the industry.
*Watch the full line of questioning by Senator McKenzie on RFA’s here.