The Regional Forestry Agreements took great thought, effort and political will throughout the Hawke, Keating and Howard years.

Our people paid a great price to achieve consensus, in order to have a sustainable timber industry. There are those who have found ways to circumvent the RFAs, to the detriment of regional com-munities, and the Australian people.

To close down our industry and import timber products abrogates our responsibility in two ways:

1. We exploit other nations which do not have the environmental safeguards we do

2. We fail to become self-sufficient in managing this essential product

Has COVID taught us nothing? It is time to take a step back and have a long hard look at what we are doing and what we are re-sponsible for. We have to look after ourselves because no one else will. This is simple but not easy. Regional communities need to be listened to because lip service will no longer cut it. We need to work with our indigenous forestry experts. We must invest ourselves in our timber industry communities, if not, who will? It will take brave, intelligent leaders to be honest, without regard for political consequences. Or have politicians just become lazy pandering to minorities with no skin in the game? May common sense prevail. This is a matter of survival, not ideological warfare.

That’s just as I see it.