Backing Bushfire Affected Communities As They Recover

  • Minister for Police and Emergency Services

The Andrews Labor Government will continue to give local communities the support they need after this month’s devastating bushfires in the state’s south-east that has seen the loss of 32 properties, leading the clean-up and recovery efforts.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today joined Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp to announce that the Labor Government will work closely with affected councils and local communities on the support needed for clean-up and rebuilding, as we move towards the recovery phase.

A lightning strike on 28 February sparked major fires across south-east Victoria, including at Dargo, Licola, Yinnar South and Bunyip, destroying homes, buildings and property across the region affecting almost 125,000 hectares.

A state-led coordinated clean-up effort will soon take place, which will include disposal of debris and septic waste, demolition of destroyed housing, potential asbestos removal, transport of waste, full cleaning of properties to environmental standards and the waiving of landfill levies.

The Government will work with communities, agencies and councils to help coordinate the recovery and to determine what additional support may be required.

Recovery centres have been established in Bunyip and Morwell, to help people access information and services they may need.

Eligible households in the local government areas of Baw Baw, Cardinia, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington can also access Emergency Re-establishment Assistance payments of up to $40,700 to assist with clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (a principal place of residence), and replacing some damaged contents.

Anyone who has been affected by the bushfires should contact their local council to find out about the clean-up and funding assistance available to them.

A Community Relief Fund in support of community members affected by the fires has also been established in partnership with Bendigo Bank. Donations can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online.

Costs associated with the bushfire recovery will be shared jointly between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

As noted by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville

“The bushfires in south-east Victoria have had a devastating impact on communities and people’s lives – we will support communities every step of the way, so they can recover and get back on their feet.”

“While there is immediate assistance available, we know there’s much more to do – that’s why we’ll work closely with local communities on the clean-up and rebuilding, and the most effective way to deliver this support.”

“I’d like to again thank the emergency services personnel and the other agencies who have worked tirelessly to keep us safe by protecting lives and property.”

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