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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Native forestry

Coastal IFOA remake: public consultation

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

During August and September 2013, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Forestry Corporation of NSW and Department of Primary Industries - Fisheries NSW met with representatives from peak conservation and industry stakeholder groups to discuss the key issues for IFOA remake.

A discussion paper (PDF 1.97MB) outlining the key elements of the proposed IFOA and legislative amendments was then released for public comment from 24 February to 9 April 2014.

Discussion paper

The proposed key components of the new IFOA presented in the discussion paper (PDF 1.97MB) were developed jointly by the Environment Protection Authority, Forestry Corporation of NSW and Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries NSW. The proposals in the discussion paper include:

  • a new IFOA licence structure which is outcomes-based, landscape-focused, reflects best-practice regulation, and aligns and better integrates conditions
  • a regulatory approach based on specified environmental outcomes and standards rather than procedure-based and administrative conditions
  • legislative amendments to make IFOA non-licence terms enforceable, ensure the licence is always switched on, establish minimum competencies for forest contractors and to encourage voluntary compliance by strengthening penalties for non-compliance.

Other information was released during the public consultation period about the proposals in the discussion paper.

Community information sessions

Six community information sessions were held as an opportunity to understand and provide feedback on the main components of the new IFOA and proposed legislative amendments in the following locations:

  • Batemans Bay - 12 March 2014
  • Eden - 13 March 2014
  • Lismore - 19 March 2014
  • Grafton - 20 March 2014
  • Wauchope - 21 March 2014.
  • Sydney - 25 March 2014

All the community information sessions were run by an independent facilitator. 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 on the discussion paper

The NSW Government received 877 submissions in response to the Remake of the Coastal Integrated Forestry Operations Approvals Discussion Paper (PDF 1.97MB). Submissions on the discussion paper have been published. Three submissions requested to remain confidential and have not been published.

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.

Support for proposals

Overall, there was general support for a number of proposals presented in the discussion paper, including:

  • a single IFOA and consolidated structure
  • proposed legislative amendments
  • establishing a strategic monitoring framework.

Summary of concerns raised

Key concerns raised in the submissions include:

  • the scope of the remake's objectives - in particular the perceived incompatibility of the two objectives of no net change in wood supply with no erosion of environmental controls
  • moving the regulation of some elements of forestry operations from the IFOA to other frameworks
  • shifting from prescribing silvicultural practices to instead specifying forestry outcomes
  • introduction of multi-scale landscape-based protections for threatened species
  • removing of pre-logging threatened species surveys
  • managing the impacts of Bell Miner Associated Dieback (BMAD)
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW's proposal for a steep slopes harvesting trial.

Stay informed

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

Page last updated: 10 August 2015