In 1992, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments joined forces to work towards a shared vision of Australia's forests. Their NFPS was a first, major step towards resolving years of conflict and dispute over forest use. The policy statement upholds the principle that Australia's forests should be managed for everyone.
The NFPS sets out broad national goals to be pursued at regional levels. It uses a framework that integrates environmental, social and commercial objectives to ensure we obtain a balanced return from all forest uses. This enables the governments to achieve cooperatively their vision for sustainable management of Australia's forests.
RFAs were a key element in the National Forest Policy Statement's approach. They sought a reasonable balance between conserving Australia's forest estate and its enduring use for economic production and recreation.
The Commonwealth Government's role is to coordinate a national approach to environmental and industry-development issues. State and Territory Governments have Constitutional responsibility for forest management.
The 20-year agreements try to balance the full range of environmental, social, economic and heritage values that forests can provide for current and future generations.
Scientific Comprehensive Regional Assessments of forest values and uses, and consultation with stakeholders were at the heart of the process. Together, they resulted in a world-class forest conservation reserve system to protect biodiversity, old-growth forests and wilderness, secure access to wood resources and provide certainty for the industry's future.