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The future of the Central Highlands’ forests discussed in Parliament

The future of the Central Highlands' forests discussed in Parliament

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Jun 21, 2024

ON Monday, May 27, Environment Minister Steve Dimopoulos was questioned about the Great Outdoors Taskforce (GOT) as well as the Victorian Environmental Assessment Authority (VEAC) and the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement (EPCE).

Labor’s Michael Galea asked Minister Dimopoulos about the GOT’s remit, parameters, timelines and projects.

Minister Dimopoulos responded that the GOT “should bring a lot of good opportunities and joy to the Victorian community.”

He said, “We have established a taskforce effectively to give us advice in about a year’s time, so about this time next year, on what other options are there right across the board for the land that was previously given over to native timber harvesting.

“If you look at that land, it is 1.8 million hectares, and that and the existing state forest effectively present an opportunity the size of which is bigger than Tasmania as a parcel of land. I think it is incumbent on all of us to set the best kind of governance model to see what we do in this land.”

He spoke about former Environment Minister Lisa Neville chairing the GOT committee, as well as the Indigenous representation, “environmental experts” and “outdoor recreation people” and “tourism people.”

He did not mention that the Chair of VEAC and the Chair of the Eminent Panel have been appointed to the GOT.

The plurals appear to be unnecessary as the only other announced members of the GOT committee are the Chair of the Victorian Fisheries Authority and the CEO of Destination Gippsland.

The media contact advised that no further members have been added to the panel.

The minister continued, “I am conscious… that these communities in Gippsland predominantly but elsewhere in Victoria deserve…

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