The Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) has been strongly criticised in Australia following two prominent applications. The aims in this paper are to review these criticisms and to demonstrate how, through an application of the method, these potential problems were addressed. The results of the application - a valuation of the conservation benefits of the National Estate forests of Southeastern Australia - are presented. A key feature of the application was the use of focus group testing in the questionnaire design phase. Finally, an assessment is made of the future prospects for the use of the CVM in Australia.