NEWS 17 December 2021 |

We welcome the announcement from the Victorian Government reaffirming native forest logging phase out. But the phase out timeline must be brought forward, and state-owned logging agency VicForests reigned in or removed.

The package importantly includes further support for industry and workers who want to get out of the native forest industry early and range of regulatory and compliance measures.

New compliance measures could be significant, either good or bad, and the devil is always in the detail. Once again, changes to the failing native logging industry are responsive to recent community court cases and media exposure, rather than following a strategic a clear transition plan.  

There were already a raft of legislative and regulatory changes to forestry rules made this year, a looks like more again next year to fill yet more gaps.

New measures announced include:

  • New Compliance Standards – Compliance Standards to be enforced by the Conservation Regulator and give the industry guidance on what measures can be taken that will comply with the precautionary principle *, which has been watered down in recent forestry code changes.
  • Forest Regeneration package – the Victorian Government will invest in a $14 million package to enhance regulatory certainty and environmental outcomes following timber harvesting. This includes $2.38 million to establish best practice procedures for the long-term management of regenerated timber harvesting coupes and their reintegration to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s broader, active management of state forests.
  • Further enforcement & compliance powers for the Conservation Regulator: additional powers will provided to the regulator in the new Forests Legislation Amendment (Compliance and Enforcement) Act 2021, to police infringements.

Read more detail of the regulatory changes.

* The precautionary principle is a broad requirement that seeks to manage scientific uncertainty when dealing with threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage within complex forest ecosystems.