This Statement outlines agreed objectives and policies for the future of Australia's public and private forests. The Governments share a vision of ecologically sustainable management of Australia's forests. This vision has a number of important characteristics: 1) The unique character of the Australian forested landscape and the integrity and biological diversity of its associated environment is retained. 2) The total area of forest is increased. 3) There is a 'holistic' approach to managing forests for all their values and uses so as to optimise benefits to the community. 3) Private forests are managed in an ecologically sustainable manner and in close cooperation with public forest managers, to complement the conservation and commercial objectives of public forests. 4) A range of sustainable forest-based industries, founded on excellence and innovation, will be expanding to contribute further to regional and national economic and employment growth. 5) Forests and their resources are used in an efficient, environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner. 6) Forest management is effective and responsive to the community. The Australian community will have a sound understanding of the values of forests and sustainable forest management, and will participate in decision-making processes relating to forest use and management.The Governments agree that, to achieve their vision for the forest estate and to ensure that the community obtains a balanced return from all forest uses, eleven broad national goals must be pursued. These goals should be pursued within a regionally based planning framework that integrates environmental and commercial objectives so that, as far as possible, provision is made for all forest values. The eleven broad national goals are as follows: 1) Conservation. The goals are to maintain an extensive and permanent native forest estate in Australia and to manage that estate in an ecologically sustainable manner so as to conserve the full suite of values that forests can provide for current and future generations. These values include biological diversity, and heritage, Aboriginal and other cultural values. 2) Wood production and industry development. The goal is for Australia to develop internationally competitive and ecologically sustainable wood production and wood products industries. Efficient industries based on maximising value-adding opportunities and efficient use of wood resources will provide the basis for expansion in wood products manufacturing, which in turn will provide national and regional economic benefits. 3) Integrated and coordinated decision making and management. The goals are to reduce fragmentation and duplication in the land use decision-making process between the States and the Commonwealth and to improve interaction between forest management agencies in order to achieve agreed and durable land use decisions. 4) Private native forests. The goal is to ensure that private native forests are maintained and managed in an ecologically sustainable manner, as part of the permanent native forest estate, as a resource in their own right, and to complement the commercial and nature conservation values of public native forests. 4) Plantations. One goal is to expand Australia's commercial plantations of softwoods and hardwoods so as to provide an additional, economically viable, reliable and high-quality wood resource for industry. Other goals are to increase plantings to rehabilitate cleared agricultural land, to improve water quality, and to meet other environmental, economic or aesthetic objectives. 5) Water supply and catchment management. The goals are to ensure the availability of reliable, high-quality water supplies from forested land and to protect catchment values. 6) Tourism and other economic and social opportunities. The goal is to manage Australia's forests in an ecologically sustainable manner for a range of uses, including tourism, recreation and production of non-wood products. 7) Employment, workforce education and training. The goal is to expand employment opportunities and the skills base of people working in forest management and forest-based industries. 8) Public awareness, education and involvement. The goals are to foster community understanding of and support for ecologically sustainable forest management in Australia and to provide opportunities for effective public participation in decision making. 9) Research and development. The goals are to increase Australia's national forest research and development effort and to ensure that it is well coordinated, efficiently undertaken and effectively applied. This research will expand and integrate knowledge about the many aspects of native forests, plantations, forest management, conservation, and forest product development. 10) International responsibilities. The goals are to promote nature conservation and sustainable use of forests outside Australia and to ensure that Australia fulfils its obligations under relevant international agreements.Part 4 deals with Specific Objectives and Policies establishing that under the ecologically sustainable development approach accepted by the Governments, the public and private native forest estate will be managed for the broad range of commercial and non-commercial benefits and values it can provide for present and future generations. Efficiently and sustainably managed public and private forests will provide the basis for nature conservation and maintaining forest biological diversity, and for regional economic development and employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including wood production from native and plantation forests, tourism and recreation, water supply, grazing and the pharmaceutical industry. In particular, these objectives are listed as follows: Conservation (1); Wood production and industry development (2); Intergovernmental arrangements (3); Private native forests (4); Plantations (5); Water supply and catchment management (6); Tourism and other economic and social opportunities (7); Employment, workforce education and training (8); Public awareness, education and involvement (9); Research and development (10); International responsibilities (11). One Annex is enclosed entitled as follows: A Forest Practices Related to Wood Production in Native Forests: National Principles.Part 5 deals with the implementation of the present policy which requires a funding commitment by the Governments. Both the Commonwealth and the States are already providing significant funding in a number of areas covered by the Statement. Consideration will be given in future budgets to the financial implications arising from the policies identified in the Statement.
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