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Minister for Forests (New South Wales)

Minister for Forests of New South Wales
First minister William Ashford
AppointerGovernor of New South Wales
Formation15 November 1916
First holderWilliam Ashford
Final holderPaul Toole as Minister for Lands and Forestry
Abolished23 March 2019

The Minister for Forests was a ministry in New South Wales responsible for the management of forests for the purpose of the timber industry and was established in 1916 and abolished in 2019. While it was a separate portfolio for much of this period, it was generally held in conjunction with another portfolio, typically Lands or Agriculture.[1]


Forests had been the responsibility of the Lands Department since 1897. In 1907 a Royal Commission was appointed to investigate the management and sustainability of forests for the purposes of the timber industry, comprising Alexander Kethel MLC, William Fehon/J A Curtis,[a] and William Freeman.[2] The Royal Commission found that at the rate of consumption, commercial hardwood would be exhausted in 36 years and softwood within 20 years. Their recommendations included that the administration and control of forests should be given to 3 independent commissioners instead of the Department of Lands.[3] This recommendation was only partially implemented, with the Forestry Act 1909,[4] creating a Forestry Department that reported to the Minister for Agriculture.[5] The department was abolished in 1916 and replaced with the Forestry Commission which reported directly to the newly created Minister for Forests,[6] who concurrently held the portfolio of Minister for Lands.[1]

In 2011 the portfolio was absorbed into Lands and Water. Since 2013 forests in NSW are managed by the Forestry Corporation of NSW, a state owned corporation.[7]

List of ministers for forests

Title Minister [1] Party Term start Term end Time in office Notes
Secretary for Lands
Minister for Forests
William Ashford   Nationalist 15 November 1916 12 April 1920 3 years, 149 days
Peter Loughlin   Labor 12 April 1920 20 December 1921 1 year, 252 days
Walter Wearne   Nationalist 20 December 1921 20 December 1921 7 hours
Peter Loughlin   Labor 20 December 1921 13 April 1922 114 days
Walter Wearne   Nationalist 13 April 1922 17 June 1925 3 years, 65 days
Peter Loughlin   Labor 17 June 1925 19 November 1926 1 year, 155 days
Jack Lang 25 November 1926 26 May 1927 182 days
Ted Horsington 26 May 1927 18 October 1927 145 days
Minister for Forests Frank Chaffey   Nationalist 18 October 1927 15 April 1929 1 year, 179 days
Reginald Weaver 15 April 1929 3 November 1930 1 year, 202 days
Minister for Agriculture and Forests Bill Dunn   Labor 4 November 1930 15 October 1931 1 year, 191 days
  Labor (NSW) 15 October 1931 13 May 1932
Minister for Agriculture
Minister for Forests
Hugh Main   Country 16 May 1932 17 June 1932 32 days
Minister for Forests Roy Vincent 18 June 1932 16 May 1941 8 years, 332 days
Minister for Agriculture and Forests Bill Dunn   Labor 16 May 1941 8 June 1944 3 years, 23 days
Minister for Lands
Minister for Forests
Milton Morris   Liberal 3 January 1975 30 June 1975 178 days
John Mason 30 June 1975 23 January 1976 207 days
Col Fisher   Country 23 January 1976 14 May 1976 112 days
Minister for Lands
Minister for Forests
Minister for Water Resources
Lin Gordon   Labor 29 February 1980 2 October 1981 1 year, 216 days
Minister for Water Resources
Minister for Forests
Paul Whelan   Labor 1 February 1983 5 April 1984 1 year, 64 days
Minister for Forests Jack Hallam   Labor 5 November 1986 21 March 1988 1 year, 137 days
Minister for Lands and Forests Garry West   National 24 July 1990 6 June 1991 317 days
Minister for Forestry Kim Yeadon   Labor 1 December 1997 2 April 2003 5 years, 122 days
Minister Assisting the Minister for Natural Resources (Forests) Michael Costa 2 April 2003 1 July 2004 1 year, 90 days
Minister for Mineral and Forest Resources Ian Macdonald   Labor 4 December 2009 4 June 2010 182 days
Paul McLeay 4 June 2010 1 September 2010 89 days
Steve Whan 6 September 2010 28 March 2011 203 days
Minister for Lands and Forestry Paul Toole   National 30 January 2017 23 March 2019 2 years, 52 days


  1. ^ William Fehon resigned in January 1908, and was replaced by J A Curtis.


  1. ^ a b c "Part 6 Ministries since 1856" (PDF). NSW Parliamentary Record. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  2. ^ "The Forestry Commission". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 July 1907. p. 9. Retrieved 19 July 2021 – via Trove.
  3. ^ "Our forests: Commission's report". "continued". The Australian Star. 30 October 1908. p. 7. Retrieved 19 July 2021 – via Trove.
  4. ^ Forestry Act 1909 (NSW).
  5. ^ "AGY-483 Forestry Department". NSW State Records & Archives. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  6. ^ "AGY-484 Forestry Commission of New South Wales". NSW State Records & Archives. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  7. ^ "About Forestry Corporation". Retrieved 19 July 2021.
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Minister for Forests (New South Wales)
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