Harvesting timber for the purposes of PNF requires approval through a private native forestry plan (PNF Plan), ensuring that ecologically sustainable forest management is implemented and measures are put in place to mitigate impacts on plants, animals, soil and water.
A PNF Plan is a legally binding agreement between a landholder and Local Land Services (LLS). Once a PNF Plan is entered into landholders must conduct PNF operations in accordance with the minimum operating standards set out in the PNF Codes of Practice. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the PNF Plan and relevant PNF Code of Practice, and undertaking associated enforcement activities.
LLS now has responsibility for PNF approval and advisory services
On 30 April 2018, LLS assumed responsibility for approval of PNF plans. The EPA maintains responsibility for compliance and enforcement of PNF.
This change is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to modernise and reform the regulatory frameworks for native forestry in NSW. LLS works cooperatively with the EPA to ensure consistent advice and interpretation of the requirements for PNF, and to maintain the significant work the EPA has performed in issuing PNF approvals.
Changes to the PNF legislative framework as part of land management reforms
On 25 August 2017, the regulatory arrangements for private native forestry changed.
The regulatory requirements for PNF are now contained within Part 5C (Private native forestry) of the Forestry Act 2012. These reforms represent minimal change to the previous regulatory requirements and will have little impact on existing and proposed PNF operations.
The changes to PNF legislation are a consequence of land management reforms. A new Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and amendments to the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) have now commenced, bringing into place a new legislative framework for the management of native vegetation in NSW. The Native Vegetation Act 2003 and Native Vegetation Regulation 2013, which previously set the regulatory requirements for private native forestry (PNF) have now been repealed. See more information about new native vegetation arrangements.
What do these changes mean for PNF?
- Under the new legislation, PNF Property Vegetation Plans are now called PNF Plans. If you already hold a valid PNF Property Vegetation Plan, it will automatically be transitioned into the new PNF legislative framework.
- You will be required to obtain a PNF Plan from LLS if you want to conduct forestry operations on your property.
- You will still be able to end your PNF Plan or vary the area of land subject to a PNF Plan through application to LLS.
- All areas of land covered by a PNF Plan have been mapped as category 2-sensitive regulated land under the new native vegetation regulatory map, which is prepared under the LLS Act. This ensures there is clear delineation between rural areas that are regulated under Part 5C of the Forestry Act (including the requirement to hold a PNF Plan and comply with the PNF Code of Practice) and those that are regulated under new land management requirements.
- The application of the new land management codes is prohibited on any area where a PNF Plan is in place.
- Allowable activities under the LLS Act are prohibited from use in areas covered by a PNF Plan. Instead Part 5 of Schedule 5A of the LLS Act provides for specific PNF clearing activities, called “clearing for rural infrastructure on lands subject to a PNF Plan”. These are consistent with the PNF Routine Agricultural Management Activities (RAMAs) previously prescribed.
- Current and new PNF Plans will be required to comply with the existing PNF Codes of Practice. This is regulated by the EPA.
- Penalties for not complying with a PNF Plan, or the relevant PNF Code of Practice, have increased slightly to ensure parity with other land management clearing offences.
What are the next steps?
The provision of the regulatory requirements within Part 5C of the Forestry Act 2013 is intended to be in place only for an interim period. The NSW government is currently preparing new native forestry legislation as announced in the NSW Forest Industry Roadmap. See more information on the proposed new native forestry legislation.