Forestry regulation and legislation

Managing a plantation or forestry practice is governed by several codes of practice, plans and regulations under 6 Queensland acts:

Plantation development

New timber plantation developments are considered a material change of land use and are subject to the Planning Act 2009 and the relevant local government development assessment requirements.

Development assessments vary between local governments. To determine which requirements and local laws apply to a specific area of land, check with the appropriate local government authority.

Private native forests

Queensland's private native forests are primarily mapped as 'remnant regional ecosystems' or 'regrowth regional ecosystems' under the Vegetation Management Act 1999. There are also significant areas of private native forest that are considered 'non-remnant' vegetation.

Self-assessable code for managing a native forest practice

Private native forest management and timber harvesting in forest that is mapped as category B (remnant vegetation) are subject to the self-assessable Managing native forest code of practice - vegetation clearing code. The code tells you how to determine the mapped category and whether you can operate under the code.

Learn more about self-assessable vegetation clearing codes.

Harvesting plantations and native forests

Tree-harvesting operations are subject to a range of legislation. You should access the code of practice and consider each of the following points to ensure your operation will comply with the relevant policies.

The required standards for health, safety and welfare for forest harvesting are set out in the Forest harvesting code of practice 2007 (PDF, 1.2MB). This code complies with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Remnant vegetation on private land

You need to determine whether your forest practice will affect any category B vegetation (remnant vegetation) on your land. If so, you need to operate under the Managing native forest code of practice as outlined under 'Private native forests' above.

Spotted gum or other eucalypts

Plantations that include Corymbia and Eucalyptus tree species are regulated by the koala conservation plan and management program in some areas of Queensland (koala districts A and B).

This regulation complies with the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Threatened wildlife or plants

Other regulations concerned with managing threatened native plants and animals are relevant to harvesting plantations. The Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the subordinate Nature Conservation Regulations can help you identify these regulations.

Environmental contamination

Environmental contamination includes noise and waste. The regulations are covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Avoid introducing pest plants

Regulations are set out in the Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002 to:

  • prevent new pest plants from establishing in Queensland
  • prevent the spread of established pest plants
  • reduce the extent of existing infestations.

There may be pests that are not declared under the Act that are declared under local government laws. Check with the appropriate local government authority.

State native forest

All our forestry management activities are performed according to legislative requirements, and our forest management policy statement shows we are committed to maximising financial returns to the state while ensuring we satisfy legislative, environmental and community expectations.

The Forestry Act 1959 (Qld) gives us the authority to:

  • sell the state's native forest products and quarry material
  • issue permits for apiary sites and stock grazing
  • carry out management and protection works and activities on state forests.

The Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) requires our activities to:

  • protect environmental values
  • comply with environmental standards
  • avoid causing environmental harm.

The Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) requires our activities to conserve nature (by ensuring natural wildlife and its habitat are protected).

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) requires people conducting business to provide the highest reasonable practical level of health and safety protection from hazards arising from work.

The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) requires our activities to support the recognition, protection and conservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) requires our activities to support the recognition, protection and conservation of Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

The Queensland Heritage Act 1992 (Qld) requires us to conserve Queensland's non-indigenous cultural heritage and Queensland heritage places.