Regulatory reforms

The NSW Government is reforming the native forestry regulatory framework to modernise native forestry regulation and ensure the long-term ecological sustainability of native forestry in NSW.

The Government is developing new legislation which will be based on the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management, as described in the Regional Forest Agreements

The new legislation will underpin a rigorous and robust regulatory framework with modern penalties for environmental offences and a suite of regulatory tools, to better protect streams, threatened species and sensitive ecological communities in forest areas across the state.

The framework will balance economic needs with community expectations in a way that is efficient, outcomes based, enforceable and reflects modern best-practice regulation.

The need for reform

Many native forestry regulations in NSW are outdated and overly complex, and are no longer delivering the best outcomes for the community, the environment and the industry.

Native forestry is currently regulated under seven pieces of legislation which has resulted in duplication and inefficiency. Penalties for forestry offences – which in many cases have not changed since 1974 – need to be updated.

The current legislation is tenure-based, which means that different approval processes and regulatory options apply on public land compared private land. This creates compliance challenges for industry and enforcement challenges for the regulator.

The new regulatory framework will be based on scale and intensity rather than tenure, as recommended by the Independent Biodiversity Review Panel (PDF 1.42MB), while continuing to recognise key differences between forestry operations on public and private land.

Public native forestry

The new native forestry regulatory framework will provide for the new Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA). The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has conducted an independent review of the draft Coastal IFOA. The NSW Government is currently considering the NRCs findings in finalising a draft Coastal IFOA.

The draft Coastal IFOA is expected to be released for public consultation in 2017.

Private native forestry

The new native forestry regulatory framework will also provide for the current Private Native Forestry Codes of Practice (the Codes). The government will review the Codes once the Coastal IFOA remake is completed. The review will commence by early 2018 with full public consultation.  

Timeline of reforms

Short term: in 2017

Medium term: 2017 and 2018

  • Commence the new native forestry regulatory framework, including modern penalties and regulatory tools for native forestry offences.
  • Commence the new Coastal IFOA.
  • Commence public consultation and finalise the reviews of the Regional Forestry Agreements and NSW Forest Agreements.
  • Commence the review of the PNF Code of Practice, with full public consultation.
  • Commence a review of IFOAs for Brigalow-Nandewar, South Western Cypress and Riverina Red Gum regions, with full public consultation.

Long term: 2018 and beyond

  • Commence the new PNF Code of Practice.

Stay informed

To register to receive updates on the native forestry reforms or to ask a question, please email forestry.policy@epa.nsw.gov.au

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