Engage Victoria want your input on this natural wonderland

Right now we’ve got a chance to protect these habitats from destructive rogue logging, mining and other extractive industries. We can push our decision-makers to create new national parks and conservation areas for people, wildlife and the planet.

There are two ways to contribute: through a survey or by adding pins to a map of the area. We’ve collated some information to help support you, so our communities, forests and wildlife can and will thrive into the future.

Have your say on how and why we can protect these natural treasures from exploitation. Submissions close Monday 29 April.

Join us for an online session

Filling in the Central Highlands survey

Survey question: Which state forest areas are you interested in? e.g. select [all of the above]
Survey question: What best describes how you currently experience this area of the forest? e.g. walking and bird watching
Survey question: How often would visit this area of the forest? e.g. as often as I can

Survey question: What is important to you about the Central Highlands state forest areas?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • The fact it’s a critical refuge for some of Victoria’s (and Australia’s) most threatened plants and animals, and unique plant communities.
  • Spending time in a place where almost 400 threatened species have been recorded (many of which are forest-dependent, and would benefit from greater protection).
  • Knowing that some of our surviving iconic threatened forest mammals live here, like Leadbeater’s Possums, Spot-Tailed Quolls, the Smoky Mouse, Broad-toothed Rats (Tooarrana) and White-footed Dunnarts.
  • Walking among the Mountain Ash, one of the tallest trees in the world. Knowing these towering trees are habitat for the tiny Leadbeater’s or Fairy Possum – critically endangered at the national level.
  • That you can visit and hike through an area that is critical for the world’s largest gliding marsupials, Greater Gliders and Yellow-bellied Gliders (both threatened and in need of the highest possible protections).
  • Walking through forest filled with threatened plants like Tree Geebungs, Round-Leaf Pomaderris, Gully Grevilleas and rainforest plants like the Shiny Nematolepis and Tall Astelia.

Survey question: Looking to the future, how could the Central Highlands state forest be improved?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • By creating a network of parks and reserves with the highest possible protection and management.
  • By backing the majority of Victorians who want to support new and expanded national parks – especially the 76% who want a Great Forest National Park.
  • Protection in new national parks – to prove we're serious about reversing the decline of our wildlife and natural areas.
  • Stronger protections for its critical role in providing over four million people with high quality drinking water.
  • Formal protection for one of our most carbon dense forests and its critically endangered and rare wildlife like the Leadbeater’s Possum.
  • By protecting the area as part of the 2030 global biodiversity agreement, signed by global leaders, including Australia, to protect 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.
  • By safeguarding threatened forest owls found in the Central Highlands, like Powerful, Masked and Sooty Owls, the old trees they need for nesting and large territories for hunting in a well-designed reserve system.
  • Introducing Indigenous Ranger and Protected Area programs – they're a proven success story, not only for the health of our natural heritage but for the lives of First Nations people.
  • An end to the ongoing and very damaging commercial activities, like timber harvesting or salvage logging.
  • Better management, accountability and oversight of fire preparation (including prescribed burning).
  • By enacting the recommendations of the 2024 National Recovery Plan for Leadbeater’s Possum, which calls for an expansion of a dedicated reserve system to “incorporate sufficient areas of current and future suitable habitat to ensure that it is adequate to maintain and enhance the long-term population viability of Leadbeater’s possum”.
  • We need some well managed camping areas, with good short nature walks.
  • Detailed informative signage is important so people can learn about the area when they visit.
  • Traditional owners should have a key role in managing areas for conservation.
  • Greater investment in local economy to boost annual visitation and create jobs by establishing the Great Forest National Park.
  • Greater protection for threatened plants like Tree Geebung, Round-Leaf Pomaderris, Gully Grevillea and spectacular rainforest plants like the Shiny Nematolepis and Tall Astelia.
  • Recreation uses need to be properly managed so nature and wildlife are protected and the Central Highlands remain an enjoyable place to visit.
  • For the area to be considered for world heritage nomination, a process that was started in the 1990s.

Survey question: Age group e.g. 35-49
Survey question: Postcode e.g. 3058
Survey question: Are you completing this survey on behalf of an organisation or community group? No
Survey question: Would you like to be added to the mailing list? Required

Adding pins to the Central Highlands map

We encourage you to pin places you’re familiar with, noting the activites you do and the reasons you enjoy being there.

You’ll be asked three questions.

  • Share why this area is of significance to you.
  • How would you like to see this area experienced into the future?
  • Display name Required

We’ve also collated information for significant areas to navigate to. Have a look at the map below to see where these different areas are.

Marysville

Marysville State Forest

  • Cool Temperate Rainforests of National Significance – climatic and ecological refuges.
  • Strongholds for threatened species including Greater Gliders and Tree Geebungs.
  • Critical Habitat for Leadbeater's Possums (see Recovery Plan).
  • Key link between the existing Yarra Ranges National Park, Cathedral Ranges State Park and Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.
  • Acheron and Stevenson Rivers.

Kinglake

Mount Robertson State Forest, Mount Disappointment State Forest

  • Strongholds for threatened species including Greater Gliders and Barred Galaxias.
  • Key link and expansion of the currently fragmented Kinglake National Park.
  • Key corridor for extremely rare Spot-tailed Quolls, which have been identified in the isolated Kinglake National Park in 2019.

Tallarook

Tallarook State Forest

  • Strongholds for threatened species like Greater Gliders and Powerful Owls.
  • Ecological refuge surrounded largely by cleared agricultural land.

Toolangi

Toolangi State Forest, Paul Range State Forest, Black Range State Forest

  • Key unburnt refuge that was spared in the 2009 bushfires.
  • Cool Temperate Rainforest Sites of State and Regional significance – climatic and ecological refuges - including WirraWilla Rainforest Walk which draws many tourists to the area, and many bird-watchers who come in search of Pink and Rose Robins.
  • Pockets of old-growth Mountain Ash forests, including the Kalatha Giant Tree – a whopping tree which brings tourism into the area.
  • Popular daywalks like the Tanglefoot Track.
  • Stronghold for many threatened species including Leadbeater's Possums (westernmost population), Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders, Masked Owls, Powerful Owls, Sooty Owls, Tree Geebungs, Round-leaf Pomaderris and Barred Galaxias.
  • Key link between the Kinglake National Park and the Yarra Ranges National Park.

Rubicon

Rubicon State Forest

  • Cool Temperate Rainforest Sites of State and Regional significance – climatic and ecological refuges.
  • Snobs Creek Falls – a beautiful waterfall which draws tourists to the area
  • Pockets of old-growth Ash Forests.
  • Stronghold for threatened species including Leadbeater's Possums (northernmost population), Barred Galaxias, Smoky Mice, Sooty Owls, Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders, White-footed Dunnarts.
  • Key link between the Yarra Ranges National Park, Lake Eildon National Park and significant alpine areas – Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve and Mount Torbreck.
  • Beautiful watercourses such as the Royston River, Rubicon River and Snobs Creek, lined with Cool Temperate Rainforest and Riparian thickets. 
  • Significant pockets of Alpine Ash Forests.

Big River

Big River State Forest, Upper Goulburn State Forest

  • Stronghold for threatened species including Spotted-Tree Frogs, Barred Galaxias, Smoky Mice, White-footed Dunnarts, Broad-toothed Rats, Masked Owls, Sooty Owls, Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders and Leadbeater's Possums.
  • Significant pockets of Old Growth Forests – Ash and Mixed Species Forest Types.
  • Significant pockets of Alpine Ash Forests.
  • Precious watercourses including the Big River, Taponga River and the headwaters of the Goulburn River.
  • Key link between the Yarra Ranges National Park, Lake Eildon National Park and the Alpine National Park.

Thompson

Thompson River Forest Reserve (State Forest), Carrang Carrang State Forest, Aberfeldy/Nambruc State Forest

  • Significant water catchment for Melbourne's drinking water, providing millions of people with what's often considered the best drinking water in the world.
  • Cool Temperate Rainforest Sites of Regional Significance – climatic and ecological refuges.
  • Stronghold for threatened species including Baw Baw Frogs, Spotted-Tree Frogs, Smoky Mice, White-footed Dunnarts, Broad-toothed Rats, Masked Owls, Sooty Owls, Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders and Leadbeater's Possums.
  • Key link between the Baw Baw National Park and Yarra Ranges National Park.
  • Significant pockets of Old Growth Forests – Ash and Mixed Species Forest Types.
  • Significant pockets of Alpine Ash Forests.

Erica

Tanjil State Forest, Erica State Forest, Neerim State Forest

  • Stronghold for threatened species including Spot-tailed Quolls, Baw Baw Frogs, Smoky Mice, White-footed Dunnarts, Broad-toothed Rats, Masked Owls, Sooty Owls, Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders, Leadbeater's Possums, Tree Geebungs and Forest Phebaliums.
  • Extremely rare Spot-tailed Quolls were recorded in these forests in 2018. 
  • Significant pockets of Old Growth Mountain Ash Forests.
  • Significant pockets of Alpine Ash Forests.
  • Cool Temperate Rainforest Sites of State and Regional Significance – climatic and ecological refuges.
  • Key link between the Baw Baw National Park, Yarra Ranges National Park and Moondarra State Park.
  • Amazing rivers such as the Tyers River and Tanjil River, which plummet off the Baw Baw Plateau through fields of huge mossy boulders.

Yarra

Yarra State Forest, LaTrobe State Forest, Beenak State Forest, Labertouche State Forest, Noojee State Forest, Yarra Tributaries Forest Reserve (State Forest), Tarago River Forest Reserve (State Forest) 

  • Stronghold for threatened species including Leadbeater's Possums (southernmost population), Smoky Mice, White-footed Dunnarts, Broad-toothed Rats, Masked Owls, Sooty Owls, Powerful Owls, Greater Gliders, Yellow-bellied Gliders, Tree Geebungs, Forest Phebaliums, Gully Grevilleas and Tall Astelias.
  • Cool Temperate Rainforests of National, State and Regional Significance – climatic and ecological refuges – which contain strongholds of rare and endangered ferns like Tall Astelias, Bristly Shield Ferns, Jungle Bristle Ferns, Oval Fork Ferns and Small Fork Ferns.
  • Significant pockets of Old Growth Mountain Ash Forests.
  • Home to the magnificent Ada Tree and Hackett tree.
  • Walk into History Track – which draws tourists into the area.
  • Beautiful freshwater systems including the Yarra River, Latrobe River, Ada River, Little Yarra River, Tarago River, Bunyip River, Loch River, Toorongo River, and Mchmahons Creek.
  • Seven Acre Rock – a spectacular viewpoint and tourist attraction.
  • Beloved campsites including Starlings Gap and Poplars.
  • Key link between the Yarra Ranges National Park and Bunyip State Park.

Other small hidden gems

Moondarra State Forest, Mount Toolebewong State Forest, Tonimbuk State Forest, Woiwurrung State Forest

  • Woiwurrung State Forest is a Cool Temperate Rainforest Site of Regional Significance – climatic and ecological refuge.

Fill in a brief survey

The survey will ask what’s important to you about the Central Highlands. We’ve provided notes for the two key questions.

Complete a brief online survey

Add pins to the map

The map invites you to add specific notes of things that matter to you and where. We’ve provided notes on special values across the area.

Add your pin to the public map

 

 


Why get involved?

  • Express support for evidence-based protection of Victoria’s forest habitats
  • Learn about the issues facing our natural places and web of life
  • Positively impact the decisions being made on your behalf
  • Reinforce and illuminate collective concerns

What next?

Your feedback will support the Eminent Panel for Community Engagement’s understanding of state forests in the Central Highlands. The Panel will consider your input alongside all other information it is collecting.The Panel will use your feedback to make recommendations to government for the future use of state forest in the Central Highlands.


We acknowledge this area is part of the unceded traditional lands and waters of the Taungurung, Wurundjeri and Bunurong people and recognise their ongoing role in caring for Country.