Traditional Owners Not Consulted Before Vic Native Forest Ban

The Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations is pushing for a casting vote over the future of Victoria’s State Forests

Thu 01 Jun 23


Wood Central can exclusively report that the Traditional Owners were not consulted before the Victorian Government decided to bring forward the date for the cessation of native timber harvesting.

In an interview with the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, Wood Central was told that “at least one of the member corporations is currently involved in works under a TUP (in the Wombat State Forest), so this is a drastic and highly impactful decision on their realisation of healthy Country.”

The Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations (FVTOC) represents the shared interests of Traditional Owners across Country – providing a strong voice to Victoria’s formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.

On May 23rd, 2023, the FVTOC released a media statement responding to the decision by the Victorian Government to accelerate the transition from native forest harvesting.

Wood Central understands that the TUP refers to the DJARRA Traditional Owner Corporation, which has an approved Timber Utilisation Plan in the Wombat State Forest.

Approved Timber Utilisation Plans allow for timber harvesting outside the Victorian Government’s Allocation Order 2013 – the area of coupes where state-owned VicForests are permitted to harvest.

  • A copy of the latest Timber Utilisation Plan, last updated on May 2nd, 2023, is available for download here.

Under the Timber Utilisation Plan, DJARRA’s primary focus is to remove windthrown timber and apply ‘forest gardening’ to this work. In this regard, the principle is to listen to what Country needs and respond by removing the fallen timber.

  • A copy of the DJAARA Forest Gardening Strategy is available for download here.

In June and October 2021, major storms in the Wombat State Forest impacted more than 80,000 hectares of forest and 1,500km of the road network, affecting the landscape, Cultural Heritage, and industry in an area including the Wombat and Lederberg State Forests.

Damage caused by storms in the Wombat State Forest (Photo credit: DJAARA Traditional Owners Corporation)

The scale of this damage created significant risks in increased bushfire conditions, limited recreational use of the area, and impacted cultural use by Traditional Owners.

In a media statement published in June 2022, DJAARA advised that there was no large-scale felling of standing trees under the plan and that the protection of Country not affected by the storm damage was prioritised.

Wood Central understands that protesting operations and legal impositions significantly impacted DJAARA’s work in the Wombat State Forest and has contacted DJAARA to get an update on the project.

The FVTOC is pushing for a casting vote over the future of Victoria’s 1.8 million hectares of State Forests.

“We would hope that in the decision-making for what happens next to 1.8m hectares of state parks impacted by this decision, Victorian Traditional Owners would hold a casting vote.”

 “We should be able to manage the return of the forests to health and to benefit from biocultural resources in a way that they have been unable to do for several hundred years.”

Wood Central has contacted the Minister for Environment, Ingrid Stitt office, for comment.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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