Authorised Officers

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Protests can sometimes involve ‘Authorised Officers’, like employees of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning at forest protests.

Authorised Officers are people who have been given enforcement or compliance powers by a government department or agency.

For example, Authorised Officers on public transport have been given powers to enforce public transport rules.

Sometimes, Authorised Officers have the power to arrest and charge people with particular offences.

If an Authorised Officer attempts to exercise their powers, you should ask them to identify themselves and ask what their official status is.

 

Forest Activism

The management and protection of forests on public land in Victoria is controlled by the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (“DELWP”) under Section 18 of the Forests Act 1958 (Vic) (“FA”).

Section 83 of the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act 1987 (Vic) (“CFLA”) enables the Secretary to appoint government employees (usually DELWP employees) as Authorised Officers.

VicForest employees can also be Authorised Officers.

Authorised Officers often work in coordination with police, who will observe and may assist if necessary (for example, with arrests).

Authorised Officers under the FA and the CFLA are empowered to enforce the applicable laws and regulations in State forest including under the:

  • Forests Act,
  • the Conservation, Forests and Lands Act,
  • the Sustainable Forests (Timber) Act 2004 (Vic) (“SFTA”), and
  • most commonly, the Safety on Public Land Act 2004 (Vic) (“SPLA”).

Authorised Officers under the FA and the CFLA are not allowed to have business connections with the forestry industry (for example, trading in forest produce, or having any interest in any lease, licence or permit for land or the working of any forest produce).

 

Other Authorised Officers

Other types of Authorised Officers can include:

  • VicRoads employees appointed under the Road Management Act 2004
  • Council employees appointed under the Local Government Act 1989 (“LGA”) or the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008
  • Department of Primary Industries officers appointed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986
  • An officer appointed under the Water Act 1989.
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