The environmental regulatory framework for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's state forest protects our environmental and unique forest values whilst allowing for the sustainable use of valuable timber and forest resources.
The primary regulatory document is the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014 (the Code). The Code outlines the environmental standards for planning and conducting commercial timber harvesting operations.
Compliance with the code is a mandatory licence condition and is also a requirement under the authorisations provided to VicForests under the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004.
Forest values protected under the code include soil, water, biodiversity, recreation, cultural heritage and visual amenity. Other socio-economic values such as health and safety sit outside the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water's responsibilities, and are not included in the Code.
The Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's state forests 2014 are incorporated within the Code. They provide more detailed operational prescriptions for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's state forests and are also mandatory.
Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State forests 2014 (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State forests 2014 (DOCX, 1.7 MB)
Appendix 5 - Planning Standards for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State forests 2014 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Appendix 5 - Planning Standards for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State forests 2014 (DOCX, 933.3 KB)
Timber harvesting compliance and enforcement
As the environmental regulator DELWP monitors timber harvesting operations conducted on public land to ensure they are compliant with regulatory requirements. This is achieved through a mixture of investigations, field inspections and forest audits.
Our Authorised Officers undertake compliance investigations into non-compliance reports and allegations. Under DELWP's compliance strategy, priority is given to cases that may involve significant levels of environmental impact.
We have a range of regulatory tools available to respond to confirmed non-compliance issues. Minor breaches are typically addressed through education and training, warning letters and voluntary undertakings. More serious breaches may warrant the need for prosecution or enforceable undertakings.
Reporting issues or concerns
Should you wish to report a compliance issue, or provide information regarding the potential presence of threatened species or other special forest values, you can do so at Forest reports.
The forest audit program covers a range of important compliance monitoring functions. We introduced a "spot checking" program in 2015 to review the planning performance of timber harvesting operations. This program focuses on the identification and protection of rainforest. Further information on this program can be found at Forest audits.
Timber harvesting conducted on private land
The Code also provides directions for timber harvesting in plantations and native forest on private land.
Timber production is a defined land use in the Victoria Planning Provisions and all planning schemes. Local government is responsible for ensuring compliance with the planning provision system.
Management Guidelines are provided below as a useful reference tool.
Independent review of timber harvesting regulations
In 2018 DELWP, at the request of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, commissioned an independent review of its timber harvesting regulation.
The review recommendations went beyond DELWP’s role in timber harvesting regulation to encompass all regulation undertaken by DELWP. The panel made 14 recommendations, which have been accepted in full. These include:
- Increasing transparency in the delivery of environmental regulation by publishing key documents, including a regulatory framework, a compliance and enforcement policy, and statements of regulatory intent for key areas of regulation.
- Improving relationships and engagement with stakeholders, the community and those we regulate.
- Identifying enhancements to regulatory capability – including people, processes, technology and infrastructure for the delivery of regulatory services and;
- Reviewing laws to recommend legislative changes needed to ensure modern regulatory powers.
DELWP has already commenced a program of reform to strengthen its regulatory approach. The includes the establishment of the Office of the Conservation Regulator (OCR).
The OCR led by the Chief Conservation Regulator (CCR) will provide a central point of coordination and oversight for all DELWP’s regulatory functions including the natural environment, heritage values, public land and wildlife.
Find out more about the OCR
Page last updated: 22/07/19