PROTEST: Protesters gathered outside C.ex Coffs in opposition to the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).
PROTEST: Protesters gathered outside C.ex Coffs in opposition to the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs). Rachel Vercoe

Protesters rally against forest agreement 'sham'

PROTESTERS gathered in Coffs Harbour today to rally against the proposed renewal of the Regional Forest Agreement for a further 20 years, with NSW Greens MP Justin Field declaring it an "absolute sham”.

Dozens of community members could be seen holding placards on Vernon St just outside Coffs C.ex, which was the venue for today's community consultation in relation to renewing the RFAs.

RFAs are 20-year plans which underpin how the state's native forests are managed, including certainty of supply to industry, ecological sustainability and conservation.

"These RFA's, we know, are an absolute sham,” MP Justin Field said.

"They have seen the decimation of native forest right across NSW, and the undermining of our wonderful species' that rely on those forests, in particular the iconic koalas.

"It really pains the community when they learn that this is a logging industry that is subsidised by tax payers year on year to destroy or forests and our wildlife.

"The meeting inside here today is a stitch up, they already know their agreements are going for another 20 years. If they were actually interested in consultation, what they would hear from the community is that the economic and environmental future for this region lies in protecting our forests, in protecting these areas for the clean air and clean water they provide, the economic opportunities they can provide in tourism, and more than that - this is our home.”

Member for Coffs Harbour announced last week local communities and environment groups are being invited to have their say on the renewal of the RFAs, saying the forestry sector is critical in supporting local jobs and driving growth in the local economy.

"The current RFAs were developed almost 20 years ago and we are committed to working closely with local stakeholders to ensure they meet the needs of industry, the community and the environment for decades to come,” Mr Fraser said.

Protesters also campaigned for the creation of the Great Koala National Park in order to protect the state's 'declining' koala population.

People can have their say at www.nsw.gov.au/improving-nsw/have-your-say/ or on the DPI website.



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