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The North Central Review
The North Central Reviewhttps://ncreview.com.au/
The North Central Review is an independently owned newspaper publishing company based in Kilmore that is responsible for publishing two community newspapers each week, covering communities within the Mitchell Shire

Victorians have an opportunity to help design the future of the state’s public land estate – which now includes more than 1.8 million hectares of forest previously used for timber harvesting.

To inform the future use and management of Victoria’s forest estate, the Great Outdoors Taskforce has been established to investigate ways to support more Victorians and visitors to explore the great outdoors, protect biodiversity and create new recreation opportunities.

Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos has appointed the Great Outdoors Taskforce – which will be chaired by former Victorian Minister for Environment Lisa Neville.

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Mr Dimopoulos said the end of the native timber industry created new opportunities for Victorians.

“The end of native timber harvesting presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to design new ways of caring for our forests while giving Victorians more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors,” he said.

“This Taskforce will play a critical role in listening to Victorians about how best to manage our forests – each member brings specialised knowledge to the panel ensuring thorough consideration of all options during consultation.”

Members of the Taskforce include Eminent Panel for Community Engagement chair Karen Cain, Victorian Environmental Assessment Council chair and Eminent Panel for Community Engagement member Mellissa Wood, and Victorian Fisheries Authority board chair Graham Dear.

The Taskforce will consult with communities and stakeholders – ensuring all options for future uses and care of the forest are heard and explored while considering opportunities to protect the environment and support recreational, social and commercial opportunities in their recommendations to government.

This includes investigating which areas of the estate present opportunities for recreation and tourism such as camping, hunting, hiking, trailbike riding and four-wheel driving.

The Taskforce will also explore which areas need to be protected to safeguard threatened species, areas that qualify for protection as National Parks and opportunities for Traditional Owner management.

The panel will prioritise areas of state forest where some decisions can be made now and advise on where more engagement is required.

The work will be undertaken over the next 12 months and consultation details will be released in the coming weeks.

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