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Australia's forest policies

​​​​​​​​​Australia has a well-established institutional framework to support the conservation and sustainable management of forests. Forest policy in Australia is developed and implemented at the national, state and territory levels. State and territory governments have primary responsibility for forest management.

What are governments doing?

The Australian, state and territory governments are all signatories to the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS). The NFPS provides the framework within which the governments work cooperatively to achieve their vision for sustainable management of Australia's forests, while ensuring that community expectations are met.

A key element of the approach adopted in the NFPS involved the negotiation of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) between the Australian Government and some state governments. RFAs are 20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests. They are designed to provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and achieve conservation outcomes.

RFAs use an evidence-based methodology to determine forest allocation for different uses and forest management strategies, and are the result of substantial scientific study, consultation and negotiation covering a diverse range of interests.

On 12 September 2017, Australian, state and territory forestry ministers issued a joint ministerial statement of support for the forestry industry.

In addition to the NFPS and the RFAs, the Australian Government has a number of key forest policies to achieve key conservation and management outcomes for Australia’s forest and forest industries.

In addition to the NFPS and the RFAs, the Australian Government has a number of forest policies to achieve key outcomes for Australia’s forest and forest industries.

  • National Forestry Industries Plan: The Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced on 12 September 2017 that the Australian Government would “develop a new government plan that will underpin growth in the renewable timber and wood-fibre industry”. In developing the plan, the work of the Forest Industry Advisory Council and its report Transforming Australia’s forest products industry will be considered.
  • Illegal Logging: In November 2012 the Australian Parliament passed the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 which makes it an offence to import illegally logged timber into the Australian market and to process timber that has been illegally harvested here in Australia.  Illegal logging is a major problem for many developing nations, causing forest degradation, loss of habitat and biodiversity, threatening sustainable livelihoods and contributing to global carbon emissions. The Act creates an even economic playing field through ensuring the purchase and sale of legally logged timber products in Australia, and gives consumers and businesses greater certainty about the legality of the timber products they buy.
  • Plantations for Australia: the 2020 Vision: The Plantations 2020 Vision is a strategic partnership between the Australian, state and territory governments and the plantation timber growing and processing industries. Its overarching principle is to enhance regional wealth creation and international competitiveness through encouraging a sustainable increase in the size of Australia's plantation estate.
  • National Indigenous Forestry Strategy: The Australian Government developed a National Indigenous Forestry Strategy in consultation with Indigenous communities and forest industry stakeholders. The strategy encourages Indigenous participation in the forest and wood products industry.