The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is calling on State and Federal Governments to urgently resolve the uncertainty over the future of Regional Forest Agreements, and sustainable native timber harvesting in Australia, created by today’s Federal Court decision.

AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said the livelihoods of tens of thousands of workers in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, and Western Australia is at stake if the questions about RFAs raised by the court decision are not urgently resolved.

“Regional  Forest Agreements have been in place for more than 20 years and are required by law to be independently reviewed every five years, and all reviews conducted have found that they are meeting or exceeding all environmental objectives while providing a level of certainty to industry,” Mr Hampton said.

“Native timber harvesting in Australia is done sustainably, with the equivalent of just 4 trees in every 10,000 across Australia’s 132 million hectares of native forest, harvested annually, and then regenerated after harvest. It is a highly-regulated sector, complying with strict environmental protections, and today’s decision should not deter from that fact.”

Mr Hampton said the native timber industry is the cornerstone of many regional communities and cannot be allowed to ground to a halt because of today’s decision.

“The current economic crisis caused by COVID-19 means that every job in Australia is vital, especially in regional communities.”

“AFPA calls on the State and Federal Governments to urgently work through the implications of today’s decision to provide certainty to timber workers and their communities,” Mr Hampton concluded.