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Karri trees - Photo @ Parks and Wildlife

What are Regional Forest Agreements?

Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) are 20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia's native forests. There are 10 RFAs in four States, Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.

The Agreements provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation. They are the result of years of scientific study, consultation and negotiation covering a diverse range of interests.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

The Regional Forest Agreement for the South-West Forest Region of Western Australia (WA RFA) is part of a national blueprint for balance, certainty and sustainability in forest management.

The WA RFA is a 20-year agreement between the State and Commonwealth governments on the use and management of the forests of Western Australia's south-west. The WA RFA was signed on 4 May 1999 and expires in 2019.

It meets the three main objectives of the RFA process:

For the environment, it established a world class reserve system which is Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative of the forests' biodiversity, old-growth forest, and other natural and cultural values.

Western Australian Regional Forest Agreement and map

Extending the Western Australian Regional Forest Agreement

The WA RFA is set to expire in May 2019. Clause 6 of the WA RFA provides for the State and Commonwealth to agree a process for extending the agreement.

The Australian and Western Australian Governments have agreed to extend the WA RFA. Arrangements to extend the agreement are available from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

While the WA RFA will not be renegotiated or changes made to the fundamental objectives of the agreement, some improvements to the framework have been identified. These are:

Stakeholder feedback to the third five-yearly review of the WA RFA will be reflected in the extension process. In addition, targeted stakeholder consultation was undertaken in October/November 2018.

Progress reports

The WA RFA requires the State and Commonwealth to undertake regular reporting on the progress made in meeting agreed milestones and commitments.

Progress reports on implementation of the WA RFA have been prepared for the first, second and third five-year periods of the operation of the agreement.

Third five-year progress report

A third five-year (Period 2009 to 2014) progress with implementation report was finalised in February 2019. 

The independent review for the Period 3 progress report was carried out by Mr Graham Wilkinson. Mr Wilkinson made 17 recommendations which were addressed by Western Australia and the Commonwealth in a joint Government response, tabled in the Australian Parliament on 19 February 2019.

First and second five-yearly progress report

The combined first (Period 1: 1999 to 2004) and second (Period 2: 2005 to 2009) five-year progress with implementation report process was finalised in February 2015.

The independent review for the combined Period 1 and Period 2 progress report was carried out by Dr Glen Kile. It made 13 recommendations which were addressed by Western Australia and the Commonwealth in a joint Government response, tabled in the Parliament of Australia on 11 February 2015. 

For further detail on the WA RFA progress reports, please visit the Australia Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

History of the Regional Forest Agreement for the South-West Forest Region of Western Australia

Planning for the Regional Forest Agreements  between the Commonwealth and individual States began back in 1992, when the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments signed the National Forest Policy Statement, agreeing to work together towards a shared vision for Australia's forests.
The Regional Forest Agreement process began in WA in 1996 and had three phases: