Are we there yet?

A reminder of what we’ve been fighting for – the Strathbogie Forest, from Rocky Ned Lookout

Just like the long car trips of our youth, when the answer always seemed to be ‘not far now – just a little further’, that’s often how it’s felt during the last eight years of advocating for better management of our forest. Yes, it is just a little further, but the goal is now squarely in sight.

In May 2019, all logging coupes were removed from the Strathbogie Forest.

In November 2019, the Victorian government committed to permanently protect the 24,000 ha Strathbogie Forest and other IPAs, pending community consultation and formal consideration of the most appropriate land tenure.

Last weekend the Victorian Environment Minister announced the process and timeline for the permanent protection of the Strathbogie Forest and all the IPAs announced in 2019.

In a nutshell:

It will begin with a short VEAC Assessment into which type of reserve e.g. National Park, State Park, Regional Park etc, or combination, is most appropriate for our forest. VEAC will commence the assessment for Strathbogie Forest and Mirboo North shortly, the other IPAs will follow next year. The Minister’s message is that VEAC’s recommendations will be evidence-based and supported by the science. And just to emphasize, it’s not about whether our forest will become a park, rather what type of reserve category and what type of activities will be permitted.

The VEAC reserve category recommendations then go to the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement (EPCE) for additional scrutiny. This is the part of the process where we’ll again need to be active and strongly advocate for our forest. The Minister expects the EPCE to provide her with their final recommendation in early-mid 2022.

The elephant in the room in all this is the next state election in November 2022. From the press release, it’s almost a given that the process for the East Gippsland and Central Highlands IPAs won’t be finalized before the election. However, it is SOSF’s expectation that the Strathbogie Forest and Mirboo North process, which starts earlier and will be more straightforward, will be finalized before the election.

So, even though we’re not quite there yet, for now, we can absolutely celebrate – yoo-hoo!!!


SOSF Media Release

4 responses to “Are we there yet?

  1. Congratulations on all your work, let’s hope more of our critical environment can be protected.

    On Wed, 1 Sept 2021 at 23:31, Our Strathbogie Forest wrote:

    > bertbohosouth posted: ” A reminder of what we’ve been fighting for – the > Strathbogie Forest, from Rocky Ned Lookout Just like the long car trips of > our youth, when the answer always seemed to be ‘not far now – just a little > further’, that’s often how it’s felt during the las” >

    • Thanks Rob.
      Yes, there are so many forests being trashed and under serious environmental/climatic stress. So much beauty, heritage and ecological capital deserving better management/protection.
      Bert

  2. This is really really fabulous but history tells us that govs only ever appeared to ever hand back land when they have already extracted what was economically feasible and or they have already secured alternative grounds to plunder for private profit. Preferably ones with less prepared/vocal locals that care. One only has to reflect on the past few decades and the statements of the fed environment minister stating climate change was not part of her responsibilities…… or the Moronson vowing to remove more red tape to help industry. The red tape is code for environmental protection.

    I sincerely hope they have turned the corner but something tells me that it’s just another one of their publicity stunts

    • Hi Dingo.
      Can totally understand your cynicism, but we can’t let that stop us, now we’re so close. If we stay focused and have a little bit of luck, we’ll get a good outcome for this forest.
      Regards,
      Bert

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