The Victorian Government understands the importance Victorian communities place on protecting the environment and is taking action to strengthen the protection of forests and wildlife for the benefit all Victorians now and well into the future.

In 2018, at the request of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) commissioned an independent review of timber harvesting regulations. This was to ensure that environmental, cultural and economic values of State forests are protected and enhanced for future generations. The review panel developed a report outlining 14 recommendations, all of which were accepted in full by DELWP. Recommendation 10 outlined the need to improve regulatory tools, including:

In response, DELWP has commenced a two-stage review of the Code to provide greater regulatory certainty and improve environmental outcomes. The goals of the first stage of the Code update are to ensure it is:

  • Clear: easier to understand for the community.
  • Accurate: free of administrative errors.
  • Enforceable: can be used more effectively for compliance activities.

The proposed changes focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities, clearly stating purpose, scope and intent of the instrument, and correcting administrative errors. The existing government commitments to protect large trees and Large Brown Tree Frogs are also reflected in the draft updated Code. These updates are focused on timber production in State forest and are part of the Victorian Government’s current program of forest management reform.

Planning for the second stage of the Code review, a comprehensive scientific review of the Code, is scheduled to commence later this year.

The consultation

We are seeking input from Victorians to inform the update to the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014. The questions below outline the key areas the Victorian Government is particularly interested in receiving feedback on. You do not need to answer all questions. We also welcome written submissions, which can be uploaded at the bottom of this page.

To assist with your submission, all relevant documents are provided in the document library on this page.

Thank you for taking the time to contribute your views to help ensure that forests are effectively managed now and for future generations. Your input will be considered before the final variation to the Code is made.

This consultation is open until Sunday 29 September 2019.


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An objective of updating the Code is to make it easier for stakeholders and practitioners to understand by removing errors, defining important terms and simplifying language.

Q1. Overall, how much easier is the updated Code to understand?

Updates have been made to the structure and content of the Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State forests (Management Standards and Procedures).(Management Standards and Procedures).

The updates are intended to make them easier to understand and clarify the procedures for timber harvesting managers, harvesting entities and operators.

Q3. Overall, how much easier are the draft Management Standards and Procedures 2019 to understand?

Another objective of updating the Code is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of VicForests and DELWP.

Key sections of the Code, including Sections 1 and 2, have been updated to clarify roles and responsibilities.

Q5. Overall, how much clearer are the roles and responsibilities in the updated Code?

A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) has been developed to assess the benefits and impacts of the proposed Code variations to ensure they are efficient, maintain economic productivity and support community wellbeing. The RIS analysis focuses on the proposed new environmental protections by assessing one option for the protection the Large Brown Tree Frog as recommended by its Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 Action Statement and two options for protecting large trees (with or without a 20-metre protection buffer).

For example, missed economic impacts or biodiversity benefits

In 2018 the Minster for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP introduced a new large tree protection policy. A new rule has been developed to ensure this policy can be enforced. The proposed rule states that VicForests must:

  • Retain all living trees equal to, or greater than 2.5 metres diameter at breast height overbark (large trees) and protect them from the direct effects of timber harvesting operations and regeneration burning. This includes not deliberately felling, falling into, or damaging large trees during harvest, and ensuring slash is not permitted to accumulate within 3 metres of the base of large trees immediately prior to regeneration burns.
  • Where possible, incorporate large trees in retained patches, or expanded buffers, or exclusion areas.
  • Include all large trees (equal, or greater to 2.5 metres diameter at breast height) in a Large Tree Register.

The Regulatory Impact Statement found that this was the most efficient option to protect large trees compared to a requirement to establish a 20-metre habitat buffer around each tree.

Please specify

A new protection measure for the threatened Large Brown Tree Frog has been incorporated in the updated Code as recommended by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 - Action Statement for this species. This will help ensure the Code is aligned with existing government policies, strategies and practices to protect biodiversity.

Please specify

This update to the Code represents the first stage of a two-stage process. Planning for stage two, a comprehensive scientific review of the Code will commence later this year. The comprehensive review will be based on new scientific evidence and broader regulatory and forest management planning reviews.

Please include your organisation, name and contact details in your submission.

Please note that if you do not provide an email address you will not receive a direct response to your submission.

Privacy statement

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.

The information you provide will be used in the update to the Code and MSPs. The information you provide may be made available to DELWP and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Your personal contact information will not be circulated outside of DELWP. Your contact details may be used by DELWP to update you on availability of the results of the consultation process. We might also need to seek clarification from you on your submission.

If you have chosen to submit your submission anonymously, you will not receive a response from DELWP or be contacted about your response.

You may access the information you have provided to DELWP by contacting forest.regulation@delwp.vic.gov.au

For more information read DELWP's Information Privacy Policy at www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/privacy.