Storm impacted residents encouraged to reach out for support

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Yarra Ranges Mayor Fiona McAllister is encouraging residents to access help available through a new government recovery support package for storm and flood impacted communities.

The $13.8 million recovery package is being provided for residents in municipalities affected during the June 9 and 10 flood and storm through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Cr McAllister said the June 9 and 10 floods and storms had an enormous impact on some communities within the Yarra Ranges, with many businesses, individuals and families still reeling in the aftermath.

“The last month has been traumatic for many, from property damage or loss, or just the challenges of day-to-day living with roads blocked, power outages and a feeling of disconnection from the wider community,” Cr McAllister said.

“This comes on top of restrictions related to the COVID19 pandemic, through which our businesses and community members have already been struggling. Recovery support is critical to ensuring our residents remain able to support themselves and their businesses.”

The Disaster Recovery Funding includes a Recovery Support Program, providing a single point of contact for individuals and families who have experienced property loss and damage, alongside psychosocial and physical trauma, to access the support and information they need.

It will also deliver a range of psychosocial initiatives to support Victorians to recover, including specific programs aimed at helping affected youth, families and seniors to come to terms with their traumatic experiences during the storms and floods and re-connect with their communities.

Cr McAllister said the impact of the floods and storms had been distressing for many community members and businesses, and she encouraged residents to reach out for both practical help and wellbeing support.

“Though circumstances will be different for everyone, for many, life certainly has not returned to normal and won’t for some time.”

The support package comes on top of an $8.2 million package across 10 impacted Councils, and the Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) clean-up program.

Yarra Ranges Council is working in partnership with State Government, agencies and community service organisations to deliver a coordinated and effective recovery.

Cr McAllister said while the State Government’s recent funding announcements regarding storm recovery were important steps in supporting residents to recover from the trauma of the storm, they did not address the needs of businesses that had been struggling to stay afloat after weeks and months without income.

“Council is continuing to work with recovery agencies and advocate strongly to government to highlight the practical and financial support needed for our businesses, and for further clean-up and repair work,” she said.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of many businesses in the Yarra Ranges, and we know many businesses are really struggling right now.

“The arterial roads have now reopened which is certainly a positive step forward, but this event has had a broad impact on businesses, where power outages have resulted in a loss of produce and prevented many from trading, and road closures have resulted in a loss of customers.

“Appropriate business support has to be a focus for government and for Council,” she said.

“Council’s Economic Development team will continue to work with businesses to help connect them with the support currently available to get them through these times, but we know this is just a small part of what will be needed to foster a strong economic recovery.”

Residents are encouraged to call the Storm and Flood Recovery Support Hotline 1800 560 760 to access a recovery support worker though the Storm and Flood Recovery Support Program and find out what support is available.

BRV’s Recovery Support Program follows the announcement of its Flood and Storm Clean-up Program, which can be accessed via the same Hotline.

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