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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Coastal IFOA remake

The NSW Government is currently remaking the Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals (IFOAs) for the Eden, Southern, Upper and Lower North East coastal regions of NSW.

IFOA remake negotiations and timing

The NSW Government is committed to remaking the four coastal IFOAs into a single IFOA which is efficient, effective and enforceable, and reflects modern best-practice regulation.

The Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries are jointly responsible for making and amending IFOAs under the Forestry Act 2012. This is a complex task and one that the government is committed to getting right, particularly delivering against the remake's objectives of maintaining access to existing wood supply and not eroding environmental values.

Objectives of the remake

The objectives of the IFOA remake are to:

  • reduce the costs associated with implementation and compliance
  • improve the clarity and enforceability of the IFOAs, including the conditions of environment protection, threatened species and fisheries licences held by the Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • recognise innovations in best regulatory practice, incorporate advances in technology and deliver a contemporary regulatory framework that is fit for purpose.

The objectives of the IFOA remake must be delivered with no erosion of environmental values and with no net change to wood supply.

Map of Coastal IFOA regions


The NSW Government has committed to a robust and transparent consultation process. During August and September 2013, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW)and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) - Fisheries NSW met with representatives from peak conservation and industry stakeholder groups to discuss the key issues for IFOA remake.

On 24 February 2014, a discussion paper (PDF 1.97MB) outlining the key elements of the proposed IFOA and legislative amendments was released for public comment. Six independently facilitated community information sessions were held across coastal NSW and in Sydney to support the discussion paper. Consultation on the discussion paper closed on 9 April 2014.

An independent facilitator's report (PDF 132KB) on the feedback received at the community information sessions is now available on the website. The report summarises key themes and issues raised at each of the sessions by members of the community, industry, and conservation group representatives. The report has been independently drafted to provide feedback to the Government for the development of the draft Coastal IFOA.

Public submissions

The NSW Government received 877 submissions in response to the Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals Discussion Paper (PDF 1.97MB). All public submissions have been made available on the website.

The Government has reviewed all the public submissions and has published a Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals Submissions Summary Report (PDF 637KB) that summarises the key themes and issues that were raised on the discussion paper. The report also outlines how the Government will use this information during the development of the draft Coastal IFOA.

Review of IFOA threatened species protections

The Government engaged the Forest Practices Authority of Tasmania (FPA) to conduct an independent review of the model of the multi-scale landscape Threatened Species Licence framework. The FPA provided a preliminary report review of the proposed approach for biodiversity conservation (PDF 739KB) and final report of the proposed approach for the threatened species licence as part of the coastal IFOAs (PDF 1.4MB). The reports' recommendations are being considered as part of the development of the draft IFOA's Threatened Species Licence.

The Government has also engaged a panel of suitably qualified and experienced experts to review and provide input on the proposed multi-scale landscape protections for threatened species. A series of expert panel workshops were held in March and September 2014 to review the proposed multi-scale threatened species licence framework and specific options for protecting species and habitats.

The expert panel has expressed general support for the proposal to move to a multi-scale landscape approach for a number of species. The panel has recommended to the Government that further work, development and analysis is required to ensure that the IFOA delivers no erosion of environmental values. A Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals Expert Panel Progress Report (PDF 471KB) summarises how the expert panel has been engaged on the IFOA remake, its preliminary recommendations, and the Government's response.

Trial of the Coastal IFOA

The Government conducted a limited trial of options for the remake of the Coastal IFOA in five harvest areas on the mid-north coast of NSW from July to September 2015. The trial demonstrated certain options for protecting threatened species and habitats from timber harvesting operations, tested different harvesting intensities, and considered how the options deliver against the objectives of the Coastal IFOA remake.

The IFOA remake trial method (PDF 1.8MB) sets the scope of the specific threatened species protection options and settings that were applied as part of the trial, and the methods used for undertaking the trial, analysing the results and engaging with stakeholders.

The information obtained from the trial is now being used to further refine the proposed threatened species measures and inform the finalisation of a draft Coastal IFOA.

The trial of the Coastal IFOA did not authorise timber harvesting on slopes over 25 degrees or in areas previously excluded due to slope considerations. The trial of the Coastal IFOA is not related to Forestry Corporation of NSW's proposed trial of timber harvesting on steep slopes, which has not been approved by the Government.

Next steps

A draft of the Coastal IFOA will be placed on public exhibition for a minimum of six weeks during the next stage of public consultation. The draft IFOA will be informed by the feedback received in public submissions and community information sessions, as well as the information obtained through the limited trial of the Coastal IFOA.

The EPA, FCNSW and DPI will continue to engage with the expert panel and all relevant advice and recommendations from the panel will be used to inform the draft Coastal IFOA.

Regional Forest Agreements and NSW Forest Agreements

The remake of the coastal IFOAs will not affect commitments made under the Regional Forest Agreements and NSW Forest Agreements. The new IFOA will continue to meet commitments made under these agreements, including the Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) reserve system.

Stay informed

To register to receive updates on the IFOA remake or ask a question, send an email to

More information

Page last updated: 13 July 2016