Forestry industry fact sheet
This fact sheet provides an overview of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the forestry industry, which includes businesses carrying out:
- forestry gathering and growing activities
- logging activities (including logging, hewing, shaping, cutting or felling).
As well as the information in this fact sheet, you should check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser.
The following links refer to detailed information on the forestry industry which is also summarised on this page below the links:
- Key legislation & initiatives
- Licences & permits
- Finance & tax
- Levies & charges
- Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)
- Intellectual Property (IP)
- Industry training
- Key government organisations & websites
- Key advisers
- Industry groups
- Useful information.
Industry research is an important part of planning for your business. It may uncover economic and industry trends, establish or improve your business and help you keep pace with your industry.
Key government sources for industry specific statistics on the forestry industry include:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – The ABS also provides a number of industry specific statistics. Specific information on the Forestry industry is available on the ABS website.
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) – The DAWR provides Australian forest and wood product statistics.
Legislation often plays a large part in how you run your business, so it's important to be aware of the laws that apply to your industry. Key legislation that may affect businesses in the forestry industry includes:
- Competition and Consumer Act 2010
- Australian Consumer Law (ACL) – Business and the ACL
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012
- Native Title Act 1993.
You can have your say on government policy and regulation for Businesses and individuals by registering at Business consultation.
Licences and permits specific to the forestry and logging industry will depend on the type and location of the forests that are involved, but mainly relate to:
- collecting, felling, transporting and burning timber or forests
- protecting forests and native plants
- protecting wildlife
- disposal of waste
- fire management and safety
- water usage or constructing a bore or well
- handling, storage and use of chemicals or dangerous substances.
Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website to find out what licences and permits you need for your industry.
If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia's national workplace laws and the specific requirements in your industry:
- Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for awards specific to your industry.
- Visit our People section to find more information about taking on an employee.
There are a number of finance and tax measures specific to forestry businesses, including:
- The Tax averaging for primary producers - helps primary producers even out their income over a maximum of five years.
- Carbon sink forests - provides tax deductions for eligible forests.
- Primary producers - provides details on offsets, rebates, deductions, depreciation and disaster assistance measures.
To find more about finance and tax guidance, take a look at:
- Record keeping in the primary production industry - for advice from the ATO about what records primary producers need to keep.
- Taxation measures - on the Department of Agriculture website, for information about tax offsets, tax deductions and tax concessions.
- Our information on taxation for business.
- Our information on finance.
Levies and charges are used to fund activities that benefit the industry such as research and development and marketing and promotion.
The main levies that apply to the forestry industry include a levy on forest and wood products and on forest growers. If you import or export forestry products there are also additional levies and charges that apply.
Visit Levies at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to find out whether they apply to your business.
There are very few grants available for the forestry industry. The main grants are available to promote forest protection or carbon farming.
Search Grants & Assistance to find more grants and assistance programs for the forestry industry.
As well as the general occupational health and safety regulations, there are also some state-specific WHS requirements relevant to the forestry industry including:
- safety standards for separation of activities
- safety standards for maintaining safe distances
- standards for occupational safety signage
- standards for protective clothing and equipment
- manual handling safety standards
- workplace noise management
- prevention of falls
- handling & storage of hazardous substances.
Need help understanding your WHS obligations? Try these government resources:
- For more detailed advice on your workplace health and safety obligations, see Safe Work Australia's Guide to growing and managing forests.
- For details on your general health and safety obligations, visit Workplace Health and Safety.
- For state specific occupational health and safety information, visit Workplace health and safety in your state or territory.
As well as compulsory insurance such as workers compensation, there are also a number of specific insurance options for businesses in the forestry industry.
Insurance options vary depending on your business type but can include insurance for equipment and machinery, property and buildings, vehicles, business interruption and even forests.
Visit How insurance works for details on general insurance options for business.
As well as trade marks, there are other IP rights that may be relevant to forestry businesses:
- Patents - Protects inventions such as new machinery, new systems or new processes.
- Plant Breeder's Rights – Protects new plant varieties and grants exclusive rights to the plant breeder to use, sell and distribute the plant and receive royalties.
IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks and designs. Visit IP Australia to find out more about your IP options.
Industry training can be an important part of your business survival. New farming methods or strategies can often help to ease the environmental impacts on your business. Need some help getting started?
- Get tips on Training yourself and your staff.
- Search Events to find government and industry events, seminars, training courses and workshops.
Forestry businesses often rely heavily on the environment and stand to have the biggest benefits and impacts. Making environmentally conscious decisions such as sustainable forest management, carbon farming and waste reduction can not only improve your impact on the environment but can also improve your bottom line. The main environmental issues that businesses in the forestry industry should be aware of include:
- reporting requirements
- waste management and reduction.
Visit Environmental management for advice on how you can manage your impact on the environment.
The key federal government agencies and websites relevant to the forestry industry include:
The key state government agencies relevant to the forestry industry include:
- ACT Territory and Municipal Services
- NSW Department of Primary Industries
- NT Government - Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
- QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions
- TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- Agriculture Victoria
- WA Department of Agriculture and Food.
Business advisers can be a valuable tool when establishing and developing your business in your industry. Search Advisory Services to find one near you.
You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.
Information that may be particularly relevant to the forestry industry include: