Regulatory reforms

Everything you need to know about recent changes to how native forestry is managed and regulated in NSW.

The Government is implementing the NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap. It sets out a range of actions to improve how native forestry is managed and regulated in NSW and ensure it is sustainable and balances environmental outcomes, industry needs and community expectations.

The Government has enacted new native forestry legislation, the Forestry Legislation Amendment Act 2018 based on the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management. This legislation commenced on 9 November 2018.

The Forestry Legislation Amendment Act 2018 streamlines and updates the legislation that regulates native forestry on public and private land. The Act delivers increased regulatory certainty for industry to operate efficiently and provides enhanced transparency for the public and greater enforceability.

The new legislation delivers stronger penalties for not complying with an Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA), bringing these penalties into line with what already applies to forestry operations on private lands and other regulated industries in NSW. It also provides a broadened suite of regulatory tools for the EPA, such as stop work orders and remediation orders, which are tailored for regulating native forestry operations.

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

Public native forestry

The new legislation amends the Forestry Act 2012 to remove the need for Forestry Corporation of NSW to hold multiple licences under various Acts. The Act provides a truly integrated licence, an Integrated Forestry Operations Approval (IFOA), for undertaking forestry operations on Crown land.

The new native forestry regulatory framework provides for the new Coastal IFOA - which are the operational rules for forestry operations. 

Private native forestry

The new legislation amends the Local Lands Services Act 2013 to include regulatory requirements for private native forestry. This enables a more seamless approach for landholders seeking advice on all land management options, including native forestry, from the Local Land Services. The Act maintains the EPA responsibility for compliance and enforcement.

Forestry operations on private land will continue to be regulated through private native forestry plans and Private Native Forestry Codes of Practice.

The NSW Government has commenced a review of the Private Native Forestry Codes of Practice (PNF Codes) and this will involve full public consultation which closed on 31 January 2019.  

The PNF Codes were prepared over ten years ago, and since this time there has been significant changes to the legislative frameworks for sustainable land management and native forestry.

The review seeks to balance the sustainable development of the native timber and agricultural industries while recognising the important environmental values of the private forest estate. It will seek to harmonise PNF with recent legislative reforms and consider efficiencies and improvements to PNF regulation and management.

Further detail on this review can be found on the LLS website at

Timeline of reforms

Short term: 2018

  • Commenced the new native forestry regulatory framework, including modern penalties and regulatory tools for native forestry offence on 9 November 2018.
  • Commenced a combined second and third term review of the Regional Forest Agreements including a public consultation process.
  • Commenced a process for the improvement and extension of the NSW Regional Forest Agreements beyond their expiry from 2019 including a public consultation process.
  • Commence the new Coastal IFOA on 16 November 2018
  • Commenced a review of the PNF Code of Practice, with full public consultation in late 2018/early 2019.

Medium term: 2018 and 2019

  • Finalise new PNF Codes of Practice
  • Commence a Coastal IFOA monitoring and adaptive management program.

Long term: 2019 and beyond

  • Commence a review of IFOAs for Brigalow Nandewar, South Western Cypress and Riverina Red Gum regions, with full public consultation.
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