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Friday analysis: Victoria’s 30-year forestry plan devoid of strategies

The release this week of the summary report of the Major Event Review of the impacts of the 2019–20 bushfires on Victoria’s RFA regions has certainly created debate and emphasised some cause for concern.

The purpose of the summary report is to provide information and data about the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires and it will inform an independent panel which will undertake the Major Event Review.

The report acknowledges the impact on the forestry sector as the impact on tourism, the eco-system right down to the bee/honey industry and so on.

Forestry Australia was heartened to see the report recognises that there is a strong case to be made for further refinement and better integration of Victoria’s forest, national park and fire management planning strategies.

But the organisation highlighted that as more country is set aside for passive conservation and consequently receives no active land management, more devastating fires are inevitable.

Traditional Owners expressed interest in being empowered to care for country but raised concerns that since colonisation, country has become broken and sick, for which Forestry Australia agrees.

However, the organisation remains concerned – and rightly so – that the review identified that the Victorian Forestry Plan contains no information or strategies as to how Victoria’s native forests will be managed over the next 30 years.

That is a long period of what can only be described as deliberate neglect. It also seems to confirm fears voiced for some years now that the Victorian Government’s management strategy under Premier Dan Andrews is to simply lock the gates and leave the forests to their own resources.

It’s not hard to work out that the effect of that will be.