Media Release: Rafferty's Rule in Forests

The Bob Brown Foundation's challenge to the Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement in the Federal Court concluded this afternoon. "In view of the onrush to extinction caused by the destruction of Australia's forests and woodlands, this is a huge test of whether the national government's stated aim to have 'ecologically sustainable forest management' is real or a farce," Bob Brown said.

The news today is that Swift parrots are in a spiral dive towards extinction, ANU experts recorded there are just 300 Swift parrots left in the wild. The BBF maintains that the RFA Act terms 'ecological sustainable forest management' and 'Comprehensive Adequate Reserve' provisions should mean what they say.

'Instead, we have the onrush of extinctions because of forest habitats being destroyed, needlessly, day by day in Australia's forests and woodlands' Bob Brown said. In the Great Forest Case taken by the Bob Brown Foundation the defence - Commonwealth, State and Sustainable Timber Tasmania - maintained that the Tasmanian RFA contains 'non enforceable legal obligations'.

Mr Ron Merkel QC, acting for the BBF, said that leaving Tasmanian authorities to have unconditional 'discretion' in forest management, as in the RFA Act amended in 2017, was not what the federal statutory regime intended. He said the Commonwealth law either required real protection to be delivered by the RFA, or it required nothing more than a piece of paper called an RFA. Mr Merkel said the position was clear: the RFA was to deliver real protection.


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