Major Event Review of the Victorian Regional Forest Agreements

The Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) provide a framework for the continued sustainable management of Victoria’s forests and forest-based wildlife.

The 2019-20 bushfires have had significant impacts on forests, biodiversity, forestry industries and regional communities. The Australian and Victorian governments have agreed that, as a consequence of the 2019-20 bushfires in Victoria, a Major Event Review (MER) of the Victorian RFAs will be undertaken.

Scoping Agreement

The MER commenced upon signature of the Scoping Agreement, which outlines agreed arrangements for undertaking the review. The signed Scoping Agreement can be found here:

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Document Pages File size
Major Event Review Scoping Agreement PDF 12 4.4 MB
Major Event Review Scoping Agreement DOCX msword 12 64 KB

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Who will oversee the Major Event Review?

The MER is being undertaken by an independent panel and informed by current information including scientific data and research, community perspectives, and Traditional Owner insights relating to the impacts of the bushfires on the RFA regions.

The panel members are:

  • Dr Gillian Sparkes was appointed as Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in 2014. She has held senior roles in the Victorian government environment portfolio, including as Chair of the Board of Sustainability Victoria and Deputy Secretary Corporate and Business Services for the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
  • Dr Tony Bartlett is an experienced forester and has worked in Australian and international forestry for 45 years. He has been responsible for the development of sustainable forest management practices and forest policy initiatives and has managed a commercial plantation business.
  • Katherine Mullett is a proud Gunaikurnai, Ngarigo Monero woman with a strong background in Cultural Heritage Management and Land Management, spanning over 10 years. She works as the Parks Victoria Aboriginal Heritage Coordinator East Region heritage officer, has had roles as a Ranger for Parks Victoria in both Buchan and Bairnsdale, and has an active Fireline role. She is a member of the Gunaikurnai Traditional Owner Land Management Board and Subcommittee Member to the Gunaikurnai Land and Water Aboriginal Corporations, Audit and Risk Committee and the Native Title Cultural Heritage Committee.

Public consultation and engagement

The Australian and Victorian governments have jointly prepared a Summary Report that outlines the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires on the RFA regions, based on existing information.

The Summary Report was provided for public comment on the Engage Victoria website between 11 June and 31 August. The submission period is now closed. Feedback that was received on the report will be provided to the independent panel to inform their deliberations. The Summary Report is available on the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

The Panel will be holding community consultation sessions throughout August and September. Due to COVID-19, all sessions will be held virtually.

The Panel understands the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires varied between each community and has designed a schedule that allows for community-focused consultation.

If you would like to have your say about the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires on Regional Forest Agreement matters in your community, please follow the link below to register for the session closest to you.

The Panel are using Eventbrite to manage registrations for each session. Information you provide via Eventbrite will be used for the purpose of the Major Event Review consultation only. 

Community Eventbrite Link
Mallacoota (session 1) Register for Mallacoota session 1
Mallacoota (session 2) Register for Mallacoota session 2
Bairnsdale Register for Bairnsdale
Orbost/Omeo Register for Orbost/Omeo
Corryong Register for Corryong
Myrtleford Register for Myrtleford
East Gippsland Register for East Gippsland

Engagement locations are focused on regions within the 2019-20 bushfire footprint. However, noting sessions will be online we welcome attendees from other parts of the state who wish to convey their experiences of the fires and implications for RFA matters.

Once you have registered your interest, you will receive further instructions regarding the timing and format of your chosen consultation session.

The Panel will engage directly with Traditional Owner groups during its term.

The Panel intends to submit a final draft of their Report to government by the end of 2021.

Will the Major Event Review open the RFAs for renegotiation?

As outlined in the Major Event Review Scoping Agreement, the review will not open the RFAs for renegotiation. The review will consider and make recommendations on what, if any, remedial actions need to be taken to address the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires in relation to Regional Forest Agreements.

Last reviewed: 6 September 2021
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