Native forestry regulatory framework

The EPA is responsible for regulating native forestry operations on private and public (Crown) land in NSW.

The EPA regulates the compliance of Crown forestry operations with Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) and the compliance of private forestry operations with the Private Native Forestry Codes of Practice. 

The Department of Primary Industries is responsible for regulating plantations on public and private land under the Plantations and Reafforestation (Code) Regulation 2001. 

The National Forestry Policy Statement guides the management of Australia's forests. The Statement, signed by the NSW Government in December 1992, laid the foundations for the Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).

RFAs are bilateral agreements between the Australian and state governments which identify areas required for establishing a comprehensive, adequate and representative (CAR) reserve system.

RFAs provide a framework that allows forestry operations undertaken in accordance with an RFA to occur without any further Commonwealth approvals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and are legal instruments under the Export Control Act 1982.

NSW forest agreements provide a framework for long-term decisions on forest use and management. They contain provisions for promoting

  • ecologically sustainable forest management
  • sustainable timber supply
  • community consultation
  • Aboriginal involvement in forest management (including native title rights)

The NSW Government has developed new legislation to modernise native forestry regulation and ensure the long-term ecological sustainability of native forestry.

The Forestry Act 2012 provides for integrated forestry operations approvals (IFOAs) which integrate the regulatory regimes for environmental planning and assessment, protection of the environment and threatened species conservation.

IFOAs incorporate licence conditions that protect soil, water, and threatened species and their habitats. They also play a key role in the day-to-day planning and activities of the Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW).

Private Native Forestry (PNF) in NSW is regulated under Part 5B of the Local Land Services Act 2013. Under the Act, PNF operations can only be undertaken with an approved private native forestry plan (PNF Plan) specifying that PNF operations be carried out in accordance with the PNF Codes of Practice. PNF Plans are approved by Local Land Services.

Regulatory reform

The NSW Government has developed legislation to modernise native forestry regulation and ensure the long-term ecological sustainability of native forestry.

The NSW Government has also previously reformed the IFOAs that apply to coastal regions of NSW. A single Coastal IFOA commenced on 16 November 2018. Find out more.

The  NSW State Specific Guidelines have been developed to help timber importers and domestic wood processors operating in NSW meet due diligence requirements under the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012.

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation has recently been amended to reflect updates to the Italy Country Specific Guideline and the New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia State Specific Guidelines. The amended regulation is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

The Guidelines provide examples of records and forestry approvals that businesses can seek as part of their due diligence, including information for businesses who source their product from interstate.

For information on the illegal logging laws visit the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests. The website contains additional resources including Guidelines for businesses operating in other Australian states and updated resources for importers.