The NSW Government has an active program to help target Bell Miner Associated Dieback (BMAD) issues. Forests NSW and the Department of the Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), in collaboration with other agencies is undertaking research into issues such as BMAD in native forests.
The BMAD Working Group has developed a BMAD Strategy to provide a coordinated approach to the management of BMAD in north eastern NSW. It is being carried out in a partnership between DECCW, Forests NSW, other government agencies and stakeholders. Information on BMAD and the BMAD Working Group is available on the BMAD website.
(1.4) Monitoring and reporting
Conservation actions relevant to crown forest management are monitored, measured and reported in various forums across the NSW Government, including NSW Annual Forest Agreement Implementation Reports, State of the Parks, State of the Environment and Forests NSW SEEing reporting.
(1.5) NSW Forest Agreements and IFOAs
Under Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), NSW is required to maintain Forest Agreements and Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs). Forest Agreements and IFOAs provide the state based legislative and operational requirements for managing timber harvesting operations.
(1.5.1) The Forestry and National Park Estate Act
The NSW Forestry and National Park Estate Act 1998 makes provisions with respect to forestry operations and the national park estate following the regional forest assessments. It includes the transfer of certain State forest and other Crown lands to the national park estate or Aboriginal ownership and provides for Ministerial forest agreements and a system of integrated forestry operations approvals.
The Act also removed third party appeal rights under the NSW Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997. Third party appeal rights were removed to provide certainty to the process and in recognition that extensive environmental, social, economic and timber assessments had been undertaken and that extensive areas were reserved. This is reflected in the Minister Yeadon’s second reading speech for the Forestry and National Park Estate Bill:
“…Clause 38 removes the rights of third parties to bring proceedings relating to the integrated approval. The compliance regime that will apply to the integrated approval is clear and unambiguous.”
“….A central theme running through this legislation is the provision of certainty for all parties. The environmental movement quite rightly received the certainty of a substantial area of high-quality land being placed into the national parks system. The industry, workers and the corporate sector also deserve a higher level of certainty.”
(1.5.2) Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals
Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) integrate the regulatory regimes for environmental planning and assessment, protection of the environment and for threatened species conservation. IFOAs describe the forestry operations and conditions covered by the approval, including a description of the area of the State to which it applies. The approvals also contain the terms of a licence under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the Fisheries Management Act 1994. An IFOA applies to anyone carrying out forestry operations on State forests and other Crown-timber lands.
The NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 provides for the listing of species presumed extinct, critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species and ecological communities, and endangered populations. It also provides for the listing of key threatening processes. The Act establishes an independent Scientific Committee which is responsible for deciding whether to list a species, population, ecological community or key threatening process. The IFOAs have a number of regular amendments to ensure that threatened species licence conditions account for new Committee listings, as appropriate.
(1.5.3) Compliance against the IFOAs
The IFOAs include licence conditions that have been designed to help protect threatened species and threatened species’ habitat from the potential impacts of timber harvesting. The NSW DECCW is responsible for regulating forestry operations that are covered by IFOAs. In regulating Forests NSW under the IFOAs, DECCW uses a mix of regulatory tools, including audits, warning letters, requirements to remediate or clean-up sites, penalty notices and prosecutions. Summaries of enforcement action taken against Forests NSW are contained within Annual Forest Agreement Implementation Reports.
(1.5.4) Review of the NSW Forest Agreements and IFOAs
The NSW Government has a separate review process under which matters, including management and compliance with Forest Agreements and IFOAs, are being considered. A review of sustainability indicators will also be conducted as a part of the NSW Forest Agreement and IFOAs review process.
(1.6) NSW Auditor Generals Report
NSW Auditor Generals Report on Sustaining Native Forests Operations was released in April 2009.
The Auditor Generals report (Number 185) found that Forests NSW has adequate estimates of timber available now and in the future and that it has wood to supply commitment until 2023 as contracted.
(1.7) Use of Biomass for Electricity Generation
The NSW Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation 1998 restricts the burning for electricity generation of native forest bio-material (which means the bio-material comprised in Australian native trees) but allows burning of bio-material obtained from: an authorised plantation within the meaning of the NSW Plantations and Reafforestation Act 1999; an existing plantation within the meaning of section 9 of that Act, or land on which exempt farm forestry (within the meaning of that Act) is being carried out; or land on which ancillary plantation operations (within the meaning of section 9 of that Act) are being carried out. Use of sawdust or other sawmill waste, or waste arising from wood processing or the manufacture of wooden products, other than waste arising from activities (such as woodchipping or the manufacture of railway sleepers) carried out at the location from which the Australian native trees are harvested may also be allowed.