Central Highlands engagement beginning in early 2024 and VEAC report released

December 2023 update

In 2021, the Victorian Government established the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement to provide recommendations on the future use of areas of State forest and Immediate Protection Areas. The Eminent Panel will now focus its work on the future use of State forests in the Central Highlands.

As part of an in-depth community engagement process set to commence early 2024, the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement will be to speaking with the Victorian community including Traditional Owners, land managers and local groups to understand values and priorities for these forests.

The Eminent Panel will assess the Central Highlands State forests for future uses, including:

  • areas of our forests that qualify for protection as National Parks
  • areas of our forests that would be suitable for recreation opportunities, including camping, hunting, hiking, mountain biking and four-wheel driving
  • opportunities for management of public land by Traditional Owners.

More information will be available shortly on opportunities to contribute.

The Eminent Panel is working alongside the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) who is undertaking scientific values assessments.  VEAC’s assessment will inform the Eminent Panel’s engagement and advice to the Victorian Government about the future uses of the of the Central Highlands State forests.

VEAC’s interim report has now been released.

Contact the Eminent Panel to register your interest and subscribe for updates.

Final reports for Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges Immediate Protection Areas

August 2022 update

The Panel has completed its work for Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges Immediate Protection Areas. This includes 14 recommendations to enhance the future use and management of these areas.

The Panel’s report presents opportunities to strengthen management of our environment whilst balancing a range of uses. It also demonstrates Traditional Owners rights and interests to managing and caring for Country. This includes through strong partnership with the Victorian community and land managers.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council (VEAC) has also completed its assessment of Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges Immediate Protection Areas. This has been a key consideration of the Panel in undertaking its work.

While VEAC’s report does not include recommendations, it does include an economic assessment of the Panel’s proposed land use changes. The Victorian Government thanks the Council for their important work in conducting this assessment.

The Victorian Government is currently considering these reports and will soon provide a formal response to the Panel’s recommendations.

Read the Panel’s report:

Summaries of the Panel’s engagement:

Read the VEAC’s completed assessment.

Photo: Eminent Panel for Community Engagement Final report for Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges Immediate Protection Areas

Consultation has closed for Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges

July 2022 update - Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges

Strathbogie Ranges from Rocky Ned lookout – Mirboo North. Credit: C. GottgensThe Panel thanks everyone who participated in the recent engagement.

Consultation has closed for Mirboo North and Strathbogie Ranges Immediate Protection Areas.

The Panel held over 50 engagement sessions with the local community and stakeholders. This included on Country meetings with Traditional Owners, local drop-ins and targeted meetings. Engage Victoria also saw important contributions, with over 700 responses received.

This information has been a key input to the Panel's considerations and findings.

The Victorian Government is now considering the Panel's final report.

Next steps

The Panel looks forward to its next phase of work for Central Highlands and East Gippsland Immediate Protection Areas.

Photo: Strathbogie Ranges view from Rocky Ned lookout – Mirboo North. Credit: C. Gottgens

Community engagement for Strathbogie Ranges and Mirboo North is underway

May 2022 update

Future Uses of Our Forests engagement opportunities

Engagement on the future use of Immediate Protection Areas at Strathbogie Ranges and Mirboo North has commenced.

The Eminent Panel for Community Engagement is speaking with the Victorian community. This includes meeting with local groups to understand aspirations for these forests.

These conversations will help the Panel identify opportunities to create and maintain healthy forests.

The Panel's Engage Victoria website has further information on opportunities to contribute. You can take part by completing a short survey and sharing which part of the forest is important to you and why.

Details of upcoming Panel engagement events are available on the Engage Victoria site.

Panel partnering with Traditional Owners, engagement to commence shortly

March 2022 update

Panel members at the Strathbogie Ranges The Victorian Government has announced the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement will include formal membership from representatives from Traditional Owner Corporations.

The Panel will lead engagement with the Victorian community. Supporting Traditional Owner objectives for the Immediate Protected Areas will be a key role of the Panel.

The Panel has commenced building its understanding for Immediate Protection Areas in the Strathbogie Ranges and Mirboo North.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council’s initial values assessment for Immediate Protection Areas at Strathbogie Ranges and Mirboo North assessment has now been released.

VEAC’s work will be a key consideration for the panel as they undertake community consultation to form recommendations on the future use of these forest areas.

The Panel will engage with a wide range of people and organisations during April and May to understand the issues and opportunities for the Immediate Protection Areas in Mirboo North and the Strathbogie Ranges. Engagement for Immediate Protection Areas in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland will begin later in 2022 and will also look at the future of State forests in eastern Victoria.

Please contact the Panel to register your interest and subscribe to updates.

Page last updated: 09/01/24