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 9 November 2018, the regulatory arrangements for private native forestry changed.
The regulatory requirements for PNF are now contained within Part 5B (Private native forestry) of the Local Lands Services Act 2016. 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 the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap. The Roadmap sets out a range of regulatory reforms to improve how native forestry is regulated in NSW to ensure it delivers ecologically sustainable forest management outcomes. The legislative changes provide a single Act to oversee all land management options for private land, and harmonise what allowable activities can be applied on agricultural and forestry land.
What do these changes mean for PNF?
- If you already hold a valid PNF Plan, it will automatically be transitioned into the new PNF legislative framework.
- You will continue to 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 are no longer category 2-sensitive regulated land under the native vegetation regulatory map, which is prepared under the LLS Act. Instead PNF land is categorised based on the underlying values set by the LLS Act.
- The application of land management codes continue to be prohibited on any area where a PNF Plan is in place.
- Allowable activities under the LLS Act can now be used in areas covered by a PNF Plan, however some limitations still apply. Refer to Schedule 5A of the LLS Act to know what is permitted on PNF Plan land.
- Current and new PNF Plans will still be required to comply with the most recent version of the 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 not changed, and remain on parity with other land management clearing offences.
What are the next steps?
Now that the NSW Government has finalised the legislation that applies to PNF, the next step is to conduct a review of the PNF Codes, PNF Plan approval processes and any PNF advice and support needs. The NSW Government has released a Terms of Reference to guide submissions from the public on what improvements can be made to the PNF Codes, rules, process and advice services. The Terms of Reference outlines the objectives and scope of the review.
This is just the first stage of the PNF Review, and submissions close on 31 January 2019.
For further information on the PNF Review, see www.lls.nsw.gov.au/pnforestry.