To inform the future use and management of Victoria’s forest estate, a new Great Outdoors Taskforce has been established.

The Taskforce will consult with the Victorian community to provide recommendations to the Victorian Government about the future use of State forests previously managed for timber harvesting.

This includes:

  • consideration of opportunities to protect the environment and support recreational, social and commercial opportunities
  • opportunities for Traditional Owner management
  • identifying areas of state forest where some decisions can be made now, and
  • advising on where more partnership and engagement work needs to be done.

The taskforce will work alongside the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement, which is currently engaging with Victorians on the future use of Central Highlands state forests.

As part of this work, the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council will be conducting scientific values assessments of the area to support understanding of forest values.

Traditional Owner partnerships

Work is underway with Traditional Owners to allow for flexibility for each relevant Traditional Owner Group to determine its involvement, as well as ensuring the statewide interests of Aboriginal Victorians in this work.

A Traditional Owner partnerships approach will be developed for the Great Outdoors Taskforce process that includes considerations for Traditional Owner taskforce membership, configuration of the taskforce for matters relating to Country, and relevant knowledge sharing forums to support this work.

Forests considered

The Taskforce will consider state forests previously managed for timber harvesting, including the 1.8m hectares of allocation order state forests.

It will also consider relevant adjacent state forests, where assessment of these areas supports a Cultural Landscapes approach for Traditional Owners or will help with management continuity.

State forests in Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreement area are being considered by the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement and not a focus of the Taskforce.

More information about engagement opportunities for the Great Outdoors Taskforce will be provided soon.


Lisa Neville

Lisa Neville, Chairperson

Lisa Neville has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Great Outdoors Taskforce.

Lisa has significant experience in leadership and was Victoria’s first female Minister for Police and first Minister for Mental Health. Lisa has also been Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Community Services; Community Services; Senior Victorians; Aged Care; and Children.

In her role as a Water Minister, Lisa was a fierce advocate for the water portfolio working sensitively and respectfully with Traditional Owners to recognise their deep and ongoing connection to land, water and resources.

Lisa has also formerly served as a member for Bellarine in the Victorian Legislative Assembly for 20 years. In this role, Lisa represented the diverse regional communities in the electorate.

Karen Cain

Karen Cain, Member

Karen is the current Chair of the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement that is conducting engagement in the Central Highlands.

Karen has significant senior experience working across government, leading strategic innovation, and developing and implementing policy in the public sector.

Karen was previously appointed as Chief Executive Officer at the Latrobe Valley Authority, as well as Director Community Transition Forestry with the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions.

Melissa Wood

Melissa Wood, Member

Mellissa is the current chair of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council and member of the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement.

Mellissa has over 30 years’ experience in leading and providing scientific and strategic advice on sustainable development, resource and environmental management; food, land and water systems; and their interconnectedness.

Graeme Dear

Graeme Dear, Member

Graeme is the current Board Chair of the Victorian Fisheries Authority and has served as an Independent Director for Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).

Graeme has significant experience spanning 30 years across the Private and Public Sector in fisheries practice, administration, research and policy.

Terry Robinson

Terry Robinson, Member

Terry is the current Chief Executive Officer of Destination Gippsland. In this role, Terry provides leadership to the Gippsland visitor economy.

With over 20 years of experience Terry has extensive knowledge of the tourism industry in Gippsland and has built significant relationships across the Victorian Tourism Industry. Terry has a strong interest in economic and community development in Gippsland.

Page last updated: 14/06/24