Victoria's forestry industry

Forestry is an important part of the social and economic fabric of Victoria, providing jobs, income and products derived from a natural, sustainable and renewable resource.

Victoria’s forest and wood products industry is Australia’s largest, accounting for 9 million cubic metres or 27.5% of Australia’s log harvest volume. The industry generates approximately $7.3 billion or 31% of the nation’s forest produce manufacturing sales and service income.

Timber is harvested from plantations and native forest on public and private land. Victoria’s 421,000 hectare plantation estate is the nation’s largest comprising mainly Radiata Pine and Southern Blue Gum. Plantation pine is used extensively in residential and commercial construction as well as pulp and paper manufacturing. Hardwood from native forest harvesting is used for high-end furniture, joinery and flooring, the manufacture of pallets and lower grade logs are used for pulp and paper production.

The industry employs approximately 15,000 Victorians across the state in forestry and logging, forestry support services, wood product manufacturing and pulp, paper and converted paper product manufacturing.

In November 2019 the Victorian Government announced its decision to phase-out harvesting of native forests by 2030. The Victorian Forestry Plan provides a support package to assist workers, businesses and communities through the transition process.

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions’ forestry unit supports improved economic, employment and social outcomes through:

  • the sustainable management of Victoria’s forest resources
  • enabling productive and sustainable timber industries in Victoria
  • providing strategic leadership in supporting industry transition and facilitating innovation and new investment
  • overseeing good governance of VicForests – the State-owned business responsible for the sustainable harvest, regrowing and commercial sale of timber from public forests on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions

Operational decisions

  • Supports the Minister for Agriculture (as relevant Minister) in administration of the Allocation Order – providing policy advice regarding the Allocation Order
  • Supports the Minister for Agriculture (as relevant Minister) in administration of the Forests (Wood Pulp Agreement) Act 1996 – administration of the legislated agreement with Australian Paper – including coordination and facilitation the agreement with Australian Paper
  • Supports the implementation of the Victorian Forestry Plan

Accountability and reporting

  • Policy development - development of and responsibility for forest industries policy

Function in relation to VicForests:

  • Supports the Minister for Agriculture (as relevant Minister) to fulfil her duties relating to VicForests
  • Monitors and advises on VicForests' compliance with corporate governance requirements, establishing Order in Council 2003 (as amended) and any directions under the State Owned Enterprises Act 1992 and other relevant Acts, functions, operations and industry issues
  • Leads the process for the Minister’s role (joint with the Treasurer)  of appointing VicForests’ Board Directors, in consultation with Department of Treasury and Finance.

Regulation

  • Maintains public safety by monitoring zones and enforcing offences in timber harvesting safety zones
  • Reconciles the gross area of the coupes harvested by VicForests with the areas allocated to it

Department of Treasury and Finance

Accountability and reporting

Function in relation to VicForests:

  • Supports the Treasurer (as the sole shareholder of VicForests) to fulfil his duties relating to VicForests
  • Monitors and advises on VicForests' financial performance, compliance with corporate governance requirements, establishing Order in Council 2003 (as amended) and any directions under the State Owned Enterprises Act 1992 and other relevant Acts, functions, operations and industry issues
  • In consultation with DJPR, facilitates the Treasurer’s (joint) approval of  VicForests’ board appointments.

VicForests

Operational decisions

Timber Release Plans – prepares and approves Timber Release Plans in eastern Victoria

Harvest and sale of timber resources – undertakes pre-harvest assessments, sells and supplies timber resources from State forests, develops and manages an open and competitive sales system for timber resources, calculates the harvestable timber volumes from Victorian public native forests, constructs access roads and undertakes rehabilitation and forest regeneration activities

Timber Utilisation Plans - prepares and approves Timber Utilisation Plans in western Victoria

VicForests acts as the State’s agent in meeting the supply obligations within the legislated agreement governing the supply of pulpwood to Australian Paper - the Forests (Wood Pulp Agreement) Act 1996.

Accountability and reporting

Financial management – develops an annual Corporate Plan (including a Business Plan and a Statement of Corporate Intent) and prepares Annual Reports and financial statements for tabling in Parliament

Respond to Sustainability Charter - details initiatives and targets against the Sustainability Charter in its Statement of Corporate Intent and reporting on the status, performance or achievements of Sustainability Charter initiatives and targets

Harvesting and regeneration – reports annually on its area of harvest, regeneration results and compliance with five-year harvest area limits in the Allocation Order 2013.

Regulation

Timber harvesting regulatory framework – adheres to regulatory requirements

Learn more about the role of VicForests.

Page last updated: 16 September 2021