Reviewers Recommendation 9
The NSW Government should give high priority to finalisation of its Park Management Program and this issue should be specifically reported on as part of the second 5 yearly RFAs Review.
Both Parties agree that the NSW Government’s Park Management Program covering reserves dedicated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, including those in the CAR reserve system, should continue to be developed and made publicly available, where appropriate.
It should be noted that the Park Management Program (PMP) is an adaptive management system subject to continual improvement and will never be “finalised” per se. Elements of the PMP (such as particular guides/manuals) are being produced and their initial establishment is being reported as it occurs. However, these documents and the PMP in general are continually being reviewed and amended in light of monitoring, evaluation and other ‘feedback’ processes.
As noted in the Report on Progress, under Milestone 26, initiatives/documents captured in the PMP include the State of the Parks program; asset maintenance system; park management policy manual; park facilities manual; park operation procedures manual; and fire management manual.
The PMP is a major element of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Environment and Heritage’s environmental management system (EMS) and will be publicly reported on in line with that broader system in accordance with NSW Forest Agreements and Regional Forest Agreement’s requirements.
Both Parties agree that reports on the implementation of the EMS for the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Environment and Heritage will be considered as an input into the second five yearly review.
Reviewers Recommendation 10
The NSW Government should continue to give priority to audit and compliance activity by each agency involved in the RFAs and that auditing be closely scrutinised as part of the NSW Review.
Joint Government Response
Both Parties agree that an effective and credible audit and compliance framework is essential for both the implementation of and public confidence in the three NSW RFAs.
The NSW Government, through the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Primary Industries Fisheries NSW, maintains an active and robust compliance and enforcement program for forest management activities including those undertaken in NSW State forests. The NSW Government provides reports on compliance with Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) for each of the three RFA regions.
The NSW Forest Agreements and their associated IFOAs, including the enforceable requirements of these arrangements, have recently been the subject of a review in accordance with the requirements in the NSW Forestry Act 2012.
The NSW Forest Agreements Review details the compliance and audit framework associated with the terms and conditions in the IFOAs. The review has also identified areas where the efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement and compliance can be improved for specified forest operations on State forests through outlining changes to the terms of licence and conditions in the IFOAs for the Upper North East, Lower North East, Southern and Eden regions.
Reviewers Recommendation 11
The NSW Government should continue to give high priority to the release of the NSW Forest Management System covering public and private land. It should be completed before the next review.
Joint Government Response
Both Parties agree that a high priority should be given to the release of the NSW Forest Management System4 covering public and private land.
However, due to recent NSW Government agency realignments, changes to the governance arrangements around certain elements of NSW Forest Management System are occurring.
The NSW Government, through the Environment Protection Authority, will finalise and make publicly available, a document on the NSW Forest Management System in 2014. The document will update the major elements of the NSW forest management system including key policy and regulatory instruments.
Reviewers Recommendation 12
The NSW Government should initiate immediate action to establish and deliver the regional ESFM performance reports as required under Milestone 41.
Joint Government Response
Both Parties agree that the regional Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management (ESFM) performance reports, which provide detailed information on the performance of the ESFM Plans for each RFA region, should be publicly available.
The ESFM Plans published in 2005 covering the three RFA regions are available from the Department of Primary Industries - Forests NSW website.
The NSW Government, through Forests NSW, has developed a draft report template for the regional ESFM performance reports that monitors the progress on the objectives of ESFM plans and also reports on the implementation of associated supplementary ESFM plans for the RFA Regions.
The finalisation of the report template and commencement of performance reporting will occur once a revised suite of ESFM indicators are agreed upon as an outcome of the NSW Forest Agreements and Integrated Forestry Operations Approval review5. This is because the annual ESFM reports will report on performance indicators and it is envisaged by Forests NSW that ESFM performance report indicators will be consistent with the revised suite of ESFM indicators agreed to as a part of this review.
Until this revised suite of ESFM indicators is finalised, New South Wales is continuing to report, on the current suite of ESFM criteria and indicators for NSW Forest Agreement regions. These indicators have been reported on annually since 1999 and are the same as the “Sustainability Indicators” described in the three NSW RFAs. Forests NSW continue to contribute to this reporting process.
Forests NSW also continues to report, at a state-wide scale, on its sustainability performance across a range of social, environmental, economic and sustainability areas through the 'Seeing Report' which since 2008/09 has been incorporated into the Forests NSW Annual report .