Joint Australian and New South Wales Government Response to the

Joint Government Response

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Joint Government Response

Both Parties agree that it is important, in terms of public consultation on the five yearly reviews, to have considered input from key environmental (conservation), community, and industry groups into the five yearly review processes for the RFAs. To assist in this process for the first five yearly review, public notices (Annex A) detailing access to the Report on Progress and seeking public comments were placed in State-wide and local newspapers as well as on both governments’ agency websites. The documentation for the first five yearly review was also made available on Commonwealth and NSW Government websites.

The Parties agree to supplement the current public notification process by writing to key community, conservation and industry groups advising them of the review process.

Reviewers Recommendation 2

With the approval of the submitters, the Parties refer the submissions to this review to:

  • the NSW Review

  • the Commonwealth Government to be taken into account during development of its response of the EPBC Review Act

  • Executive Management of the NSW forest agencies.

Joint Government Response

Both Parties support the inclusion of the submissions provided to this first five yearly review being referred to the relevant reviews outside of the RFA review process.

In accordance with requirements in the then Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998, the NSW Government completed a review of the NSW forest agreements and integrated forestry operations approvals in 2010. The issues raised within the public submissions and the Independent Assessors’ report of the RFA review were considered as a part of this State review which provides relevant information on this review.

The submissions from the first five yearly review were also referred to the executive management of NSW forest agencies i.e. Forests NSW and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

The issues raised within the public submissions and the Independent Assessors’ report were considered in the development of the Australian Government response to the Report of the independent review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

Reviewers Recommendation 3

The Parties consider initiating a further review process as soon as possible to meet the agreed RFAs second review time requirements and:

  • these reviews focus on progress with milestones due to commence in the second 5 years of the RFAs, actions underway from the first 5 years, and

  • indicators that are considered critical to the success of the RFAs is areas such as reserve management, species protection (including pest animal and weed management), management planning and wood supply estimates.

Joint Government Response

The Parties support the intent of this recommendation in terms of further five yearly reviews of the three RFAs.

Both Parties fully appreciate the need to undertake further five yearly reviews of the three NSW RFAs to maintain transparency of and public confidence in the management of public forests within the State.

The commencement of further five yearly reviews will require some consideration of timeframes by the Parties to enable implementation of actions arising from this Joint Australian and New South Walers Government Response to the Independent Assessor’s 18 recommendations from the first five yearly review.

Nonetheless both Parties will commit to commencing further five yearly reviews of the three NSW RFAs as a matter of priority commencing in 2014.

Both Parties also agree that the focus of further five yearly reviews will be on key milestones and sustainability indicators, noting that the Parties will endeavour to provide sufficient information so that all relevant matters are considered and reported on.

Reviewers Recommendation 4

That the Parties to the RFA consider:

  1. The resource requirements of on-going and yet to commence undertakings under the three RFAs to determine whether implementation is likely within agreed timelines, and/or

  2. Whether reprioritisation of any milestones is necessary to ensure delivery of initiatives which are essential to the implementation of the RFAs.

Joint Government Response

Both Parties are committed to the implementation of all relevant milestones of the three NSW RFAs and will continue to consider the adequacy of resourcing requirements to achieve ongoing and outstanding milestones.

Both Parties are committed to working collaboratively to identify key ongoing and outstanding milestones and determining whether timeframes for their delivery need to be re-considered.

Reprioritisation of timelines around the delivery of some milestones may be required, in the light of NSW government priorities; any decision about the likelihood of reprioritisation of timelines will be outlined in further five yearly reviews.

Reviewers Recommendation 5

In future five yearly reviews the Parties consider further including more commentary for Milestones in the “Underway” and “Concluded” categories to provide an assessment of the adequacy of progress of these milestones.

Joint Government Response

Both Parties support this recommendation in order to provide transparency on the status of progress in relation to the milestones in the three NSW RFAs.

In light of improving the transparency and adequacy of the five yearly review process, where practicable, both Parties will provide further detail in subsequent five yearly reviews on the status of progress against the milestones under the three NSW RFAS.

The NSW Government has already taken this recommendation on board in terms of both the descriptors used for reporting on progress and the commentary for NSW Forest Agreement milestones in the NSW Forest Agreement review conducted in 2010.

Both Parties agree to provide a set of agreed descriptors or categories as referred to by the Independent Assessor backed up by an appropriate explanation on the progress with milestones which will assist stakeholders in evaluating the adequacy of progress toward achieving milestones or provide a timeframe for completion and/or reassessment.

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