Timber Allocation Order
The Allocation Order is made by the Minister for Agriculture under Part 3 of the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 (SFTA). On the publication of an Allocation Order in the Victorian Government Gazette, property in the timber allocated by the Order is vested in VicForests. VicForests may only harvest and/or sell vested timber resources in accordance with the Allocation Order.
The Allocation Order provides long-term access to Victoria's timber resources and may be varied or reviewed, by the Minister consistent with sections 17 and 18 of the SFTA.
The Allocation Order describes:
- the forest stands within State forest to which VicForests has access
- the location of those forest stands
- the total extent and available areas of those forest stands
- the maximum area available for timber harvesting in any five-year period
- any additional activities that VicForests is permitted to undertake
- the conditions with which VicForests must comply in carrying out its functions under the Allocation Order.
On publication of the Allocation Order, VicForests must carry out its functions in accordance with the Order.
The allocation and vesting of Victoria's timber resources in eastern Victorian State forests is set out in the Allocation Order 2013 (as amended).
Allocation Order 2013 (as amended)
Consistent with proclamation of the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Amendment Act 2013, the Allocation Order 2013 was published in the Victorian Government Gazette No S 343 on 1 October 2013.
The Allocation Order 2013 was amended on 30 October 2014. The Allocation (Amendment) Order 2014 was published in the Victorian Government Gazette No S 405.
Extent and location of forest stands to which VicForests has access
The Allocation Order 2013 (as amended), (the Allocation Order) includes a map describing the extent and location of forest stands to which VicForests has access. A copy of the map is provided below.
Click map to view a larger version in a new window
The map shows the areas of ash and mixed species throughout the east and north-east regions of Victoria shaded as black and grey respectively. The shaded areas of mixed species forest stands are greater than the shaded areas of ash forest stands.
The shaded areas are roughly 50 to 60 kilometres to the east and north-east of Melbourne. They spread to the towns of Bairnsdale, Omeo, Lakes Entrance and Orbost, and Alexandra, Mansfield, Bright and Corryong, and the surrounding areas of those towns. There are some smaller areas in the south-east region of the state, particularly south of the town of Traralgon.
Timber Release Plans
Timber Release Plans (TRPs) are no longer used to vest timber resources to VicForests. Timber resources are now allocated and vested to VicForests through the Allocation Order.
Under Part 5 of the SFTA, VicForests must still prepare a TRP in relation to the Allocation Order to harvest and sell, or harvest or sell timber resources; and to undertake management activities associated with those timber resources.VicForests must carry out its functions and powers under the SFTA in relation to vested timber resources, or in relation to an area to which the Allocation Order applies, in accordance with any TRP.
The TRP remains VicForests' key planning mechanism to outline future timber management operations.
TRPs must include: a schedule of coupes selected for timber harvesting and associated access road requirements; details of the location and approximate timing of timber harvesting in the proposed coupes; and details of the location of any associated access roads.
In preparing a TRP, VicForests is required to comply with any condition relating to consultation that is specified in the Allocation Order. TRPs must also be consistent with the Allocation Order and any relevant Code of Practice related to timber harvesting.
VicForests consults widely on its TRPs. All TRPs are evaluated by a number of stakeholders including DEDJTR, Parks Victoria and Aboriginal Affairs Victoria. VicForests also provides the opportunity for the local community, individuals and groups to review its initial TRPs and provide comment.
VicForests must cause notice of a new TRP, or a change to an existing TRP, to be published in the Government Gazette.
Copies of current TRP and maps showing the extent and location of coupes and coupe driveways can be viewed at this link on the VicForests' website.
Post harvest regeneration
Under Part 5 of the SFTA, VicForests must prepare a TRP in relation to the Allocation Order for undertaking management activities associated with timber harvesting including forest regeneration. TRPs must also be consistent with the Allocation Order and any relevant Code of Practice related to timber harvesting.
The Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014 specifies that harvested areas of native forest are successfully regenerated. The minimum regeneration standards are outlined the Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria's State Forest 2014. When VicForests has measured that a coupe has successfully regenerated, that coupe can be removed from the TRP.
Clause 18 of the Allocation Order states that VicForests must submit an annual report to the Secretary to DEDJTR by 30 September each year describing the area of timber harvested and regeneration results for the preceding financial year for ash and mixed species forest stand types. The department will continue to monitor VicForests' regeneration results and conduct audits through the Forest Audit Program.