Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Regional forest agreements

The National Forest Policy Statement laid the foundations for the regional forest agreements (RFAs) which are 20-year bilateral agreements between the Australian and State governments.

RFAs identify areas required for establishing a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system. They aim to achieve a balance between the conservation, ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s native forests, and the long-term stability of forest industries. RFAs for NSW were made between 1999 and 2001, and are in place for the North East, Eden, and Southern regions.

RFAs also deal with Australian Government legislation and obligations, including exempting native forestry activities in RFA regions from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act ).

The RFAs are reviewed every five years.

Comprehensive regional assessments

A key step in the development of the RFAs was to undertake comprehensive regional assessments (CRAs) of the environment, heritage, social and economic uses and values of forests.

Nationally agreed criteria , also known as the JANIS criteria, were applied to help protect forest biodiversity, old-growth forests and wilderness areas through the creation of a comprehensive, adequate and representative reserve system.

The Australian, State and Territory Governments identified forest areas that needed protection, and which parts could be used for commercial timber and other purposes. The assessments drew on existing material as well as a wide range of commissioned studies and technical reports to determine what the forests meant to the industries and people of each region, including Aboriginal Australians.

More information on CRAs for the Eden, North East and Southern regions is available on the Australian Government Department of Agriculture website.

Page last updated: 05 February 2016