Following the 2019-20 bushfires, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments have agreed to undertake a Major Event Review to assess the impacts of the fires and identify if future remedial actions need to be taken.
The Major Event Review will be overseen by an independent Panel and informed by science, Traditional Owner knowledge and public consultation. The independent Panel will be comprised of the Victorian Commissioner of Environmental Sustainability, a Commonwealth nominated member, and a Victorian Traditional Owner member.
The review will assess the impacts of the bushfires on environmental, economic, social and cultural values to identify future action that can be taken to manage Victoria’s forests.
The Major Event Review activates an appropriate and robust response to major events which impact our forests such as the significant 2019-20 bushfires.
Key materials related to the Major Event Review
To give effect to the Major Event Review a Scoping Agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments has been signed. This means that the Major Event Review is underway.
All members of the Victorian community will be able to contribute to the Major Event Review by providing feedback on the Summary Report through the Engage Victoria website.
The Panel will also undertake engagement activities during their term. These will be determined by the Panel, once it is established.
What is the Major Event Review?
- The Major Event Review is a new feature of the RFAs whereby the Victorian and Australian Governments can undertake a joint review to assess the impacts of major events, such as bushfire, flood and disease, in relation to the objectives and operation of the RFAs.
- A Major Event Review enables assessment of the impacts of a major event and identification of remedial actions. A Major Event Review will be overseen by an independent Panel and informed by science, Traditional Owner knowledge and public consultation.
Why do we need a Major Event Review?
- Understanding the wider impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires on Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners, communities, plants, animals, ecosystems, businesses and infrastructure is a high priority of implementing Victoria’s RFAs.
- The 2019-20 fires were exceptional in size and impact burning approximately 1.5 million hectares across Victoria:
- Around 1.3 million ha (18 per cent) of Victoria’s public Native forest was impacted;
- Approximately 78 per cent of the remaining Warm Temperate Rainforest in Victoria was within the fire extent;
- Over 50 per cent of the likely state-wide habitat of 244 species of plants and animals was affected, 215 of which are rare or threatened species; and
- over 1,000 registered Aboriginal heritage places are within the fire affected areas*.
Who will oversee the Major Event Review?
The Major Event Review will be overseen by an independent Panel comprised of:
- the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability;
- an independent reviewer selected by the Commonwealth of Australia, and agreed by Victoria; and
- a Traditional Owner member, as agreed by the Parties.
What is the Summary Report?
The Summary Report is a document jointly prepared by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments that outlines the impacts of the bushfires on the RFAs based on existing information and data, and provides a basis for interested community members to engage with during public consultation.?
- Feedback received on the report will be provided to the Panel to inform their deliberations.
- The Summary Report will be available for public comment in coming months on Engage Victoria site.
How can I contribute to the Major Event Review?
- The Summary Report will be available for public comment in coming months on the Engage Victoria site. You can register with Engage Victoria to receive updates.
- The Panel will also conduct interviews with key stakeholders, including Traditional Owner groups.
Will the Major Event Review open up 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 needs to be taken to address the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires in relation to Regional Forest Agreements.
- This may include improvements to be made to Victoria’s forest management system.
Will the Major Event Review affect the Victorian Forestry Plan and timber harvesting?
- The Victorian Government is continuing to implement the Victorian Forestry Plan, which will see native timber harvesting phased out over the next decade and end by 2030.
* Of the 6% of the State surveyed to date Eastern Victorian Fires 2019-20 Statewide Recovery Plan – see page 10.
Page last updated: 18/02/21