Communique - 9 February 2021
The second WA RFA Annual Meeting of Officials took place on 9 February 2021. The meeting was attended by officials from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment; the WA Government Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA); and the WA Forest Products Commission (FPC).
On 29 March 2019, the WA RFA was varied by the Parties to include improvements and a rolling 20-year extension. In accordance with the requirements of the varied RFA clauses 8B and 8C, the Parties held an annual meeting to monitor the implementation of the Agreement and discuss any matters or issues that have arisen since the last meeting.
Officials discussed updates and progress on a range of matters relating to changes to the WA Forest Management System that had occurred since the last annual meeting. This included an update on:
- the mid‑term performance review and preliminary work on the end-of-term performance review of the Forest Management Plan (FMP) 2014‑2023
- planning for the FMP 2024‑2033, which must be in place by 1 January 2024
- sustained yield in public native forests
- process for changes to the WA conservation estate, including an update on the ‘Plan for our Parks’ initiative
- management of invasive species
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on operations.
Officials discussed the forest research projects currently underway through DBCA and FPC in WA, and noted that the focus of WA’s research priorities is to inform the implementation of the FMP 2014-2023 and development of the FMP 2024-2033.
Officials discussed compliance processes and monitoring programs in place on a range of matters including forestry operations, biosecurity and data use and access. WA officials provided an overview of the Disturbance Approval System which supports assessment, approval and monitoring of forestry operations and the work that WA was progressing to address the August 2020 WA Auditor General’s report on managing the impact on biodiversity of plant and animal pests.
Officials commenced consideration of the process that will be used to support the five‑yearly review in 2024, as required by clauses 8D, 8E and 8F of the WA RFA. As part of this discussion, officials discussed a draft of the Scoping Agreement that would govern the process for the review.
Officials discussed the 2019‑20 Black Summer bushfires, and the 2021 WA Wooroloo bushfire and impacts on the WA RFA region.
Officials agreed that the next annual meeting will be held in early 2022.