Introduction and process
Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) recognises the need to balance the environmental effects of clearing State forest with the fire protection and fencing needs of forest neighbours.
Subject to meeting Threatened Species and other Legislative requirements, neighbours will be permitted to clear trees and inflammable material from boundary fencelines for a variable width up to a maximum of 5.0 metres inside the State forest boundary in order to minimise the risk of damage to the fenceline from falling timber and wildfire.
The approved width will be the minimum consistent with the needs of the neighbour and taking into account the environmental sensitivity and economic value of the forest. Clearing width of timber cover will be restricted to a maximum of one blade width (3.0 metres) where the area contains merchantable timber or is zoned Forest Management Zone (FMZ) 2 or 3A. A lesser width will apply where it is practical to place the access track on the neighbour’s side of the fence.
Permits to clear fencelines will be authorised following the consideration of a range of factors by FCNSW. The review will include a database search for cultural heritage sites, threatened flora and fauna species, threatened ecological communities and FMZ’s. Debris cleared from the fenceline is to be pushed into the adjoining freehold for subsequent disposal by the landholder where possible.
Neighbours can be given an authority to salvage posts free of charge from timber cleared from the fenceline providing it is not included in an area zoned FMZ 2 or 3A. The posts can only be cut from trees which have been cleared with a tractor, ie: trees are not to be felled prior to clearing.
The neighbour is to certify that the tractor to be used for the clearing is fitted with a ROPS (rollover protection), FOPS (falling object protection) canopy, OPG (operator protection guards) and that the operator is competent. The FOPS and OPG certification will not be required where the clearing is limited to regrowth less than 3.0 metres tall.
Neighbours issued with a letter of authority to cut fence posts free of royalty from either the fenceline being cleared, or from an adjacent compartment that has current harvesting operations, are to certify that the person cutting the posts has the appropriate chainsaw competency. Posts are not to be cut from log dumps being used by a logging crew unless the logging contractor has given his approval and the post operator has been properly safety inducted by the logging crew.
Assistance for fencing after fires
State forests share boundaries with neighbours, including other public land managers and private property, for in excess of 22,000 km in NSW. State forests are vested in the Crown and under the Dividing Fences Act (NSW) 1991, the Crown is not liable to contribute toward the erection and maintenance of boundary fences. FCNSW does not require its forests to be fenced and boundary fences erected by neighbours, lessees and permittees, have been done so at their discretion and for their benefit. The 2019/20 fires in NSW have been extensive and have impacted, and severely damaged, many kilometres of boundary fences.
In line with other public land managers, on a case by case basis, FCNSW may make a voluntary contribution to towards boundary fencing materials as a community service.
To assist with fire-affected fencing, FCNSW may make available timber posts, usually left over from nearby timber harvesting operations, for the neighbour to use. Depending on local availability factors, FCNSW may also be in a position to issue an Authority to salvage fence posts from trees fallen along roadlines after fires as part of the “Make Safe” programme.
Neighbours, lessees and permittees whose boundary fences have been impacted by fire should firstly submit claims with their insurers and alternatively, direct requests for assistance to relevant disaster recovery relief programs.
Application for a permit to clear a State forest fenceline PDF, 193.02 KB
Application for a permit to clear a State forest fenceline DOCX, 46.9 KB
For additional information and return of application:
Senior Land Administrator
Forestry Corporation of NSW
PO Box 168
WAUCHOPE NSW 2446
Phone: 02 6585 3744
Disaster relief assistance for fencing after fires
In relation to boundary fences:
Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) Financial Assistance
- Disaster Assistance Recovery Grants
- The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 14 January that grants of up to $75,000 will be made available to farmers in bushfire-affected areas. This assistance is intended to help farmers deal with their immediate needs and can be used for everything from fodder and water, sheds, fencing and agricultural equipment. Eligibility criteria for these grants is currently in the process of being determined by the Commonwealth Government.
- DPI will provide further information on this website as soon as it becomes available.
- Details are still being developed. RAA are awaiting details of how the program will run.
- Related press release at: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/initial-100-million-bushfire-emergency-support-primary-producers
Department of Primary Industry
- Volunteer organisation - 0418 530 471
- Can assist with the labour component of fence replacement.
General emergency information