The Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 provides a framework for sustainable forest management and the sustainable timber harvesting in Victoria’s State forests, as well as amending the Forests Act 1958 (Vic) and the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987 (Vic).
All timber resources in Victoria’s State forests are the property of the Crown. This Act prescribes that property in timber resources passes from the Crown to VicForests pursuant to an Allocation Order made in accordance with the Act. VicForests is required to comply with any conditions in the Allocation Order and Timber Release Plans as well as complying with the Code of Practice for Timber Production.
The Allocation Order imposes annual reporting obligations upon VicForests.
Pursuant to the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2014, the Minister may make an Allocation Orderthat specifies the area of forest available for timber production. The allocation is in the form of the total area of two broad forest types available to VicForests.
The Allocation Order can be reviewed by the Minister any time there has been a significant variation in the timber resource available for harvesting, as a result of fire, disease or other natural cause or a change to the land base available for timber harvesting.
The objectives of the Allocation Order are to:
Allocate specified timber in State forests to VicForests for the purposes of harvesting and selling, or harvesting or selling, timber resources;
Permit VicForests to undertake associated management activities in relation to that allocated timber and additional activities in the areas to which the Allocation Order applies; and;
Specify the conditions and limitations that apply under the Allocation Order.
The Allocation Order provides long term access to Victoria's timber resources and may be varied or reviewed, by the Minister in accordance with the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2014.
On publication of the Allocation Order, VicForests must carry out its functions in accordance with the Order.
The Annual Harvesting and Regeneration Report has been developed by VicForests to demonstrate how it meets its obligations under section 16 of the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004, whereby VicForests must carry out its functions in accordance with the Allocation Order.
This report specifically addresses clause 18 of the Allocation Order 2013, as amended by the Allocation (Amendment) Order 2014, whereby VicForests must submit a report to the Secretary of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (formerly the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources) by 30 September each year, describing the area of timber harvested and regeneration results for Ash and Mixed Species forest stand types in the preceding financial year. The report must also include data demonstrating how VicForests is complying with the prescribed 5-year harvest area limit in the Allocation Order (as shown in item 3 of Table 1, of the Allocation Order 2013, as amended by the Allocation (Amendment) Order 2014).
The Sustainability Charter sets the direction for sustainable forest management in Victoria. It commits the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and VicForests, a State-owned business responsible for the commercial harvesting and sale of timber from State forests, to support the objectives set out in the Charter.
Victoria's performance on progressing these objectives will be monitored through Framework of Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management in Victoria and publicly reported through the five-yearly release of Victoria's State of the Forests Report 2013.