NSW EPA issues new rules for harvesting operations

Friday 31 May 2024

NSW EPA issues new rules - 15 harvesting operations stood down
  • Late on Sunday night the NSW EPA amended site-specific biodiversity conditions for Greater Gliders. The new rules took effect immediately
  • Forestry Corporation NSW has stood down 15 operations - 11 operations in the north of the state and 4 in the south
  • AFCA needs information about the impacts on businesses and individuals - click here to add your story

For a period of several weeks, Forestry Corporation NSW and the NSW EPA had been discussing the interpretation of the search and survey requirements relating to protections for Greater Gliders. Last week, environmental activists issued a notice of intent to Forestry Corp (and likely the EPA) that further court actions would be launched to seek additional injunctions to prevent harvesting activity. Amendment of the biodiversity conditions could not occur while a court action was underway, leading to the developments of the weekend. As the amendments apply immediately, FC NSW moved to stand down crews while a review can be undertaken of the updated requirements. It is not clear how long the stand down is likely to last, with expectations ranging from several days to a number of weeks. 

What has changed?

Forestry Corp must implement a 25-metre exclusion zone around any tree in which a Greater Glider is spotted. This is in addition to the previous requirement to leave a 50-metre exclusion zone around identified den trees.

Changes have also been made to how nocturnal search and surveys must be conducted, including that a first transect must be undertaken within 30 minutes of sunset to increase the likelihood of seeing gliders leaving their dens.

The announcement by the EPA can be read here.

Stand down arrangements for contractors

FC NSW has advised that usual stand down arrangements and payments will apply for those harvesting contracting businesses that have affected. 

There are currently no stand down arrangements in place for haulage. FC NSW will negotiate with individual businesses to determine what financial support will apply.

Case studies needed

Case studies are needed from affected businesses and individuals to support AFCA's efforts to advocate to the NSW Government to stop these rolling series of changes that are impacting you. To contribute, use this survey form or contact AFCA directly

Further information will be circulated as it becomes available. 

Source: Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA)

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