Private native forestry and the land management and biodiversity conservation reforms

What do the NSW Government’s land management and biodiversity conservation reforms mean for private native forestry?

Private native forestry or ‘PNF’ is logging native vegetation or forest management operations (such as thinning) on private property for timber production. In NSW, private native forestry must be managed sustainably.

Have the land management and biodiversity conservation reforms changed the regulation of private native forestry?

The NSW Government’s land management and biodiversity conservation reforms do not make significant changes to the laws applying to private native forestry.

This is to ensure minimal disruption to the timber industry and landholders whilst the NSW Government develops a modern regulatory framework for forestry in accordance with the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap.

Where can I find the laws which now regulate private native forestry?

As the Native Vegetation Act 2003 (NV Act) and Native Vegetation Regulation 2013 (NV Regulation) have been repealed, the Forestry Act 2012 (Part 5C) now regulates private native forestry.

These arrangements will continue until new native forestry legislation commences in accordance with the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap.

Who regulates private native forestry?

On 30 April 2018, Local Land Services (LLS) assumed responsibility for approval and extension services for private native forestry. The EPA continues to regulate compliance and enforcement of PNF Plans and the PNF Codes of Practice.

Has the process changed for landholders seeking a new PNF approval or to vary an approval?

Landholders must now seek approval from LLS to undertake any native forestry operations on their property, and are able to vary or terminate a PNF plan by application to LLS.

I had a private native forestry property vegetation plan. What are these called now?

Private native forestry property vegetation plans (PNF PVPs) are now called private native forestry plans (PNF Plans).

If have a PNF PVP already in place do I need to do anything?

No. Existing PNF PVPs automatically become PNF Plans under the new legislative arrangements.

If your land is subject to a PNF Plan, whether existing or new, you still must comply with the PNF Plan and applicable PNF Code of Practice.

What activities does the new Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2017 apply to?

The Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code regulates certain types of land clearing for pasture or cropping on privately-held rural land in NSW.

Can I use the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2017 to clear for forestry?

No. The Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code 2017 does not authorise clearing of native vegetation for forestry operations, nor clearing on land subject to a PNF Plan.

What can I do on parts of my land mapped as pink on the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map?

Land subject to a PNF Plan is mapped as pink on the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map (‘category 2-sensitive regulated land’). This means that the PNF regulatory framework applies to this land. You can continue to undertake your forestry operations consistent with the terms of your PNF Plan on this land, but cannot clear under the Land Management (Native Vegetation) Code. 

For further information about the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map, see http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/biodiversity/regulatorymap.htm.

Can I still clear for routine agricultural management activities on land subject to a PNF Plan?

Landholders can still carry out certain activities, previously known as routine agricultural management activities, on land subject to a PNF Plan. These activities are limited to those specified under Part 5 of Schedule 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013, and generally involve clearing for construction, operation or maintenance of certain rural infrastructure.

What penalties now apply?

Penalties for breaching a PNF Plan in rural areas are the same as for clearing offences under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

Where can I find more information about the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap?

As set out in the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap, the NSW Government will implement a modern regulatory framework for the forestry industry that ensures the industry is ecologically sustainable.

This reform process is separate to the land management and biodiversity conservation reforms. The EPA, the Department of Primary Industry (DPI), and Local Land Services (LLS), will undertake consultation with representative peak stakeholder groups on a new native forestry legislative framework.

Where can I find more information?

For more information on private native forestry approvals, contact Local Land Services.

Questions about private native forestry compliance and enforcement or the Government’s reforms to native forestry regulation should be directed to forestry.policy@epa.nsw.gov.au.

For more information on private native forestry in NSW, see: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/native-forestry/about-private-native-forestry.

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