Acknowledgment of Country
Save Our Strathbogie Forest acknowledges the Traditional Owners of this land. We respect the rich culture and intrinsic connection Traditional Owners have to the land. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging and recognize the primacy of their obligations, responsibilities, and rights to care for their Country.
This document summarizes the position of Save Our Strathbogie Forest committee in response to the recent consultative meetings with the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement.
- SOSF generally agrees with the content and conclusions in VEAC’s ‘Assessment of the values of the Strathbogie Ranges IPA (SR IPA).
- Insofar as VEAC’s assessment is concerned, the boundary of the proposed Conservation Park and Forest Park should be moved west, to the north-south running Dry Creek Rd. This would minimize potential conflict between hunting and agriculture (which is a real issue) and protect high conservation value forest in the Goldsworthys Tk area whereDELWP surveys recorded high Greater Glider densities.
- We strongly support TO self-determination through cultural landscape principles and shared governance.
- We support Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TLaWC) becoming legal custodians of this forest, in its pursuit to heal culture and heal country.
- We urge the EPCE to identify the mechanisms and a reserve category that would enable TLaWC custodianship and strong biodiversity protection of the Strathbogie Ranges IPA during this term of government. We suggest a pathway to achieve this.
- Commercial timber harvesting should be explicitly excluded from the future SR IPA reserve, including the south-west section of forest where VEAC suggests a Forest Park is the most appropriate reserve category.
- Establish and resource a reserve ‘advisory committee’ under the auspices of the TLaWC to oversee transition of the reserve from state forest to reserve, including the development of a management plan.
- Commit to developing a reserve management plan within 12 months of declaration and allocate adequate resources to maintain and implement the plan.
- Preparation of the management plan should include assessment and reduction of the impacts of bush camping and recreational vehicle use. It should also consider how best to promote the growth of low-impact activities such as walking, hiking, cycle touring, day visits etc.
- Unregulated, recreational hunting of feral deer and pigs, as is the current situation, should be stopped or at least regulated and drastically reduced, to mitigate the risk of conflict and environmental degradation, but also to make better use of such a potentially valuable food resource.
- Bush camping in its current form and with likely increased visitor use requires regulation and should be part of an advisory committee’s remit. Improving camping facilities in areas around the forest should be a high priority.
- Highest priority and investment should be in low-impact recreation activities that are inclusive and promote both visitor usage and effective forest management. Visitor experience and safety will be improved by better road signage and visitor information.