LOGGING protesters now face significant penalties if they come within 150 metres of timber harvesting.
The new laws come as the state government hopes to prevent a repeat of ugly incidents like those in Toolangi State Forest, near Healesville, in August last year where loggers and protesters from MyEnvironment were involved in on-site brawls.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said protesters who illegally entered logging operations were a danger to everyone.
"This is a win for local communities, recreational forest users and the timber industry," Mr Walsh said.
Previously, under the Safety on Public Lands Act 2004, trespassers faced charges only when they interfered with harvesting operations.
Under the new terms, protesters will also be charged if they "cause an object or substance to enter a public safety zone" or "engage in disruptive or dangerous actions".
Director of anti-logging group MyEnvironment Sarah Rees slammed the decision, and said the changes were "outrageous".
"The announcement was another predictable tactic to disempower the community's role in sustainable forest management," she said.
"Locking the residents out because they are concerned about their publicly owned nature places is as unconstitutional today as it was when this absurd act was first launched in 2004."
Ms Rees said the government could generate money in forest areas by promoting them as tourist attractions.
"If the minister spent as much money enhancing forest experiences for our tourism trade . . . towns like Toolangi would become world-class destinations."