Overview

Victoria’s native forests are an important part of our identity. They are the home to native plants and animals, provide a place for Victorians to connect with our natural environment. They also deliver important ecosystem services, such as clean air and water.

Regulation of timber harvesting protects these forest values while allowing for the sustainable use of timber and forest resources. This is particularly important while we transition away from native forest harevsting by 2030. The primary regulatory document is the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014 (the Code).

The Code is being updated, along with its incorporated document, the Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria’s State forests (MSPs), to ensure they are clear, accurate and enforceable. These 2021 Code amendments will focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities, clarifying obligations, and correcting administrative errors.

These amendments will correct errors and deliver a clearer framework for timber harvesting. That means greater accountability and improved opportunity for compliance by industry.

This review aims to make the Code clearer, correct errors and improve enforceability. The amendments will not alter the environmental protection standards already provided by the Code. Nor do they change the rules for timber harvesting. The Victorian Government will comprehensively review the Code by the end of 2023. This is a commitment under Victoria’s modernised Regional Forest Agreements. We are also interested in any early input into our next stage of work – the comprehensive Code review.

Changes under the 2021 review include:

  • formalising protections for Large Brown Tree Frog and large trees
  • amending the definition of the precautionary principle, aligning it with the definition used in the NSW forestry regulatory framework and improving clarity in its application
  • correcting errors. The creation of Special Management Zones and Special Protection Zones is DELWP’s responsibility, not VicForests
  • clarifying the purpose of the Code. The Code regulates the planning and conduct of timber harvesting operations
  • DELWP’s forest and land management fixed zoning objectives will move. They will go into a new draft Forest Management Zoning Accountability Framework
  • clarifying the policy intent of ambiguous wording and layout in some provisions
  • improving the layout of tables
  • refining and adding definitions
  • amending incorrect referencing.

The draft Forest Management Zoning Accountability Framework will make DELWP’s process of forest zoning more transparent. This will improve accountability of the department in meeting the commitments it has made to protect certain values in the landscape.

The DELWP Secretary’s fixed zoning actions – that is commitments to put in place zones associated with fixed values in the landscape – were included in the MSPs in 2014. They have not been updated or reported on in any way. These are the department’s land management functions that serve a broader purpose than the regulation of timber harvesting operations. They implement the outcomes a range of legislative and policy instruments, including Threatened Species Action Statements and Forest Management Plans.

The Secretary’s fixed zoning actions will therefore be moved to a new draft Forest Management Zoning Accountability Framework. This framework commits for the first time to comprehensive public reporting on the extent to which zoning commitments have been undertaken and an analysis of the adequacy of the zoning in achieving intended outcomes. This will ensure the Secretary’s actions across forest management zoning will be transparent and accountable.

Victorians are invited to comment on the new accountability framework, which will allow them to monitor DELWP’s progress on these actions for the first time.

Public consultation is now closed

Thank you for the submissions made as part of this consultation program.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is currently reviewing this feedback.

Next steps

We will review the feedback received and use it to inform the 2021 Code amendments. The final documents will be published on this page and DELWP website, before the end of 2021.

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Submission

If you would like to make a formal submission you may upload a document or file here.

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