Public Safety Zones
The Safety on Public Land Act 2004 (SPLA) addresses public safety in State forests by providing for the establishment and enforcement of public safety zones.
The Department of Primary Industries has power under section 4(2)(g) of the SPLA to declare areas of the State forest to be a public safety zone for the safe conduct of timber harvesting operations.
Active timber harvesting coupes are hazardous work sites that must be carefully managed to ensure safety.
It is an offence under the SPLA for an unauthorised person to carry out any activity in a public safety zone in contravention of a public safety zone declaration. The SPLA sets out the offences and penalties which apply to misconduct within public safety zones.
Public safety zones for timber harvesting – new declaration effective 23 December 2012
The new public safety zone declaration for timber harvesting operations strictly prohibits access to operational timber harvesting coupes. It applies to the coupes specified in VicForests' timber release plans or DPI wood utilisation plans, including a 150 meter safety buffer around the coupe boundary.
Public safety zones will now take up less area in our State forests, and access will only be prohibited while harvesting operations are underway. This means that more of Victoria’s forests will be accessible to the general public, and for longer.
However, the clear and certain prohibition on access to operational timber harvesting coupes means unlawful intruders will now face a greater range of charges for their disruptive and dangerous actions.
Restrictions include entering a public safety zone when access is prohibited, causing any object or substance to enter a public safety zone, and failing to comply with the direction of an authorised officer to leave a public safety zone.
The full restrictions and conditions which apply to public safety zones for timber harvesting operations are set out in the Declaration of Public Safety Zones, which are published in the Victoria Government Gazette, as well as on this website.
Gazetted public safety zones
Current public safety zones declared for the purpose of timber harvesting operations are below:
Public Safety Zone declarations are also available for inspection at the Department of Sustainability and Environment head office, 8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne 3002, and at the Department of Primary Industries head office at Level 19, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne 3000.
For queries about this new declaration, or to view the declaration at the DPI head office, enquire with the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.