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Senator Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment
Marie Tehan, Victorian Minister for Conservation and Land Management
John Anderson, Minister for Primary Industries and Energy
Joint Media Release
10 October 1996.
Australia's first Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) enters the final consultation phase today with the release of the last public discussion paper, 'East Gippsland: Toward the Regional Forest Agreement'. The paper will be circulated widely during an eight-week consultation period following its release today by the Federal Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, and the Victorian Minister for Conservation and Land Management, Marie Tehan.
The RFA for East Gippsland will operate for 20 years, and is scheduled to be signed by the Prime Minister and the Premier of Victoria in December.
The Ministers said the RFA would encompass the establishment and management of a comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) forest reserve system, the ecologically sustainable management of forests and the development of an efficient, internationally competitive timber industry.
The Ministers said the discussion paper outlined a number of possible scenarios for implementing a CAR reserve system, as well as some possible industry development opportunities and their social, economic and environmental implications.
They said the discussion paper built on extensive community consultations and a series of comprehensive reports on the natural. cultural, social and economic aspects of the region's forests
The paper also discusses the links between the RFA process and other statutory processes, particularly those related to environment protection legislation, native title, world heritage, national estate, and endangered species.
The Commonwealth Ministers also announced that key stakeholder groups had been offered grants of $20,000 towards the costs of their participation in the RFA process.
They include the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Wilderness Society, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Australian Workers' Union, and the Forest Protection Society.
The Ministers are inviting both written comment and discussion on the paper's range of scenarios.
All stakeholder groups and any interested members of the general public are invited to public meetings during the week beginning October 21 1996 to discuss:
The public meetings will be on the following dates, at the following venues:
Wednesday, October 23: 10am, Bendoc Community Hall and 7.30pm, Cann River Community Centre.
Thursday, October 24: 10am, Mallacoota Mudbrick Community Centre and 7.30pm, Orbost NRE offices;
Friday, October 25: 10am, Buchan Community Hall.
Matt Brown, Senator Hill's office, 06 277 7640
Robert Haynes, Mr Anderson's office, 06 277 7520
Nicole Cantrell, Mrs Tehan s office, 03 9651 5799
To obtain copies of the discussion paper or further information about the East Gippsland Regional Forest Agreement process, or to make written submissions on the paper's contents, contact:
Department of Natural Resources and Environment 240 Victoria Parade,
EAST MELBOURNE, VIC 3000, 03 9412 4131 ; Fax 03 9412 4160
Forests Taskforce, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 3-5
National Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600, 06 271 5546; Fax 06 271 5511
The discussion paper and other information released earlier in the year, such as assessment reports and fact sheets, are also available on the World Wide Web on the Department of the Environment Sport and Territories' Environmental Resources Information Network, (ERIN):
Some Facts About East Gippsland Forects