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 is being overseen by an independent Panel and will be informed by science, Traditional Owner knowledge and public consultation.

The review will assess the impacts of the bushfires on environmental, economic, social and cultural values to identify if remedial actions need to be taken.

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.

SCOPING AGREEMENT

Major Event Review Scoping Agreement (PDF, 4.3 MB)

Major Event Review Scoping Agreement (DOCX, 72.3 KB)

The Summary Report is a document jointly prepared by the Victorian and Commonwealth governments that outlines the impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires on the RFAs, based on existing information. The Summary Report was provided for public comment between 11 June and 31 August 2021. The submission period is now closed.

SUMMARY REPORT

Major Event Review Summary Report (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Major Event Review Summary Report (DOCX, 2.3 MB)

Independent Panel’s consultation process

The Major Event Review independent Panel held community-focused consultation sessions and targeted engagement with stakeholders and Traditional Owners over August-October 2021. The Panel’s engagement period has now closed.

Major Event Review next steps

The Panel is drafting its final report for submission to the Commonwealth and Victorian governments.

The Commonwealth and Victorian governments’ response will be determined on receipt of the full, final report, in accordance with the terms of the Scoping Agreement.

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 oversees the Major Event Review?

The Major Event Review Independent Panel is comprised of:

  • Dr Gillian Sparkes, the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability since 2014. Dr Sparkes 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.
  • Ms Katherine Mullett is a proud Gunaikurnai, Ngarigo Monero woman with a strong background in Cultural Heritage Management and Land Management, spanning over 10 years. Ms Mullett works as the Parks Victoria Aboriginal Heritage Coordinator East Region heritage officer, and 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.
  • Dr Tony Bartlett is an experienced forester and has worked in Australian and international forestry for 45 years. Dr Bartlett is the Managing Director of Bartlett Forestry Consulting Pty Ltd. Dr Bartlett has been responsible for the development of sustainable forest management practices and forest policy initiatives and has managed a commercial plantation business.

How can I contribute to the Major Event Review?

The Panel’s engagement and consultation sessions with communtiy, stakeholders and Traditional Owners are now closed.

The Engage Victoria website for the Summary Report on bushfire impacts from 2019-20 bushfires is now closed.

The feedback that has been provided will inform the Major Event Review Panel’s findings and recommendations to government.

If you have any questions about the Panel’s engagement process, please email vicmerpanel@agriculture.gov.au

If you have any questions about the Major Event Review more generally or would like to receive updates, you can contact Forest Policy at DELWP, on future.forests@delwp.vic.gov.au.

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.

Page last updated: 06/01/22