News

Forest probe

By Benalla Ensign

Communities in Benalla and across the north east are encouraged to get involved in the second engagement stage of the Future of our Forests reform program.

This is part of a two-month joint Victorian-Australian Government engagement phase to seek community input to the modernisation of the five Victorian Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs).

Hume Assistant Chief Fire Officer Aaron Kennedy said the consultations would take part in June and could be completed online or at events throughout Victoria.

‘‘The consultation paper was developed by an independent environmental consultant and explains what the Victorian RFAs are, how they operate, and how effective they have been,’’ Mr Kennedy said.

‘‘It also identifies potential areas for improvement within the RFAs.

‘‘This phase of engagement is part of a broader reform of Victoria’s forest management system and follows the first phase from December 2018 to March 2019.

‘‘That was undertaken to help better understand what Victorians value and (outline) their priorities for the management and use of our forests.

‘‘This current phase is focused on seeking feedback on potential opportunities for improvement to the Victorian RFAs.’’

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Victorian and Australian Governments to guide the modernisation and extension process for the Victorian RFAs and ensure that future forest management delivers the highest and best value uses of our forests to Victorian communities.

The state government has invested $36.9 million to update Victoria’s Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) and improve future management in partnership with traditional owners.

Their aim is to deliver the highest and best use of Victoria’s forests, deliver stronger environmental protection, and enable adaptive management to address climate change and associated challenges.

●To have your say on potential improvements to the Victorian RFAs, visit Benalla’s drop-in sessions at 89 Sydney Rd today (June 19), at 4.30pm.

●To obtain a copy of the Independent Consultation Paper or provide an online submission, visit: engage.vic.gov.au/future-of-our-forests

●Further information and details about the community drop-in sessions is available at: www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/futureforests/get-involved/joint-rfa-consultation-with-commonwealth/RFA-community-drop-in-sessions