Image for ‘RFA “Death Sentence” for Swift Parrot’

*Pic: Swift Parrot images ©Eric Woehler

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First published August 22

BirdLife Tasmania today joined other environmental groups in their condemnation of the re-signed Regional Forests Agreement (RFA) between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments.

BirdLife Tasmania Convenor, Dr Eric Woehler, described the signing of the RFA for another 20 years as the, “death sentence” for Swift Parrots.

“With probably fewer than 1000 Swift Parrots left in the wild, the RFA locks in further habitat destruction for this Critically Endangered species over the next 20 years” he said.

“Recent studies by scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) showed that on current population trends, the species faces extinction in as soon as 16 years, with habitat loss the primary driver for their potential extinction”.

“With a business as usual approach to forestry operations in Tasmania, the 20-year RFA amounts to a death sentence for the species” Dr Woehler said.

“As Tasmania’s most threatened species - such as Swift Parrot, Masked Owl and Wedge-tailed Eagle lose more of their woodland habitats to forestry operations, the recently renamed Sustainable Timber Tasmania will lose any hope of FSC accreditation, and Tasmania loses any realistic claim to being ‘clean and green’”.

Any claims that the RFA is environmentally sustainable is ‘laughable’ Dr Woehler noted, “as the RFA is explicitly exempted from any environmental assessments under the Federal EPBC Act”.

“Thus the Tasmanian Government ‘assesses’ Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s forestry operations, and gives it the big tick. In so doing, the Tasmanian Government is condemning the Critically Endangered Swift Parrot and other Endangered woodland bird species in Tasmania to extinction”.

“The RFA has been a catastrophic failure over the last few decades – clearly demonstrated by the high number of threatened woodland bird species in Tasmania” Dr Woehler claimed.

“Clearing breeding and feeding habitats for listed, Endangered species will ensure no FSC certification for Sustainable Timber Tasmania, and the very real prospect of the extinction of the Swift Parrot” Dr Woehler concluded. 

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