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Bushfire support and information

We recognise this is a difficult time for our community. On this page you’ll find essential information and advice on support and services available to you provided by Council and other government and non-government agencies.

Community documents

 


 

Bushfire Recovery Centre

We've opened a dedicated Bushfire Recovery Centre located at 24 Service Street, Bairnsdale. The Centre is a one-stop-shop for bushfire-related enquiries, open weekdays 8.30am to 5pm. To get in touch with the Centre, phone 03 5153 9500 and select 1, or email BushfireRecoveryContactCentre@egipps.vic.gov.au.


 

Bushfire Case Support

After a bushfire, people may be unsure of what to do next. The Bushfire Case Support program provides practical support for bushfire affected individuals and families.

 

Case Support Coordinators can help you with:

  • Discussing your needs and the next steps you could take 
  • Information and support to access services   
  • Completing paperwork   
  • Community information  
  • Financial counselling and assistance with insurance   
  • Advice for business owners

Support can be provided face to face, over the phone or at a location that suits you.

 

Learn more about the program, or to access the program call 0414 384 512 between 9am – 5pm weekdays.


 

Financial support

Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment to help you if a declared disaster significantly affects you. It’s not for minor damage or inconvenience. Residents of East Gippsland have until 4 August 2020 to make a claim.

 

The fastest way to claim is over the phone. Call 180 22 66 (please note the 180 is correct) to claim over the phone, or go to the website

 

Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. You can get it for a maximum of 13 weeks. It’s paid from the date you lose income as a direct result of the Victorian Bushfires.

 

Residents of East Gippsland have until 4 August 2020 to make a claim. The fastest way to claim is over the phone. Call 180 22 66 (please note the 180 is correct) to claim over the phone, or go to the website.

 


 Farm, livestock and water

Agriculture Victoria staff are working with affected landholders to assess injured livestock and losses of agricultural assets and livestock. Agricultural Victoria can also provide technical advice and help you make decisions on topics such as:

  • agisting livestock affected by a bushfire
  • assessing livestock after a bushfire
  • stock containment areas
  • pasture recovery

For more info on these topics go to Agriculture Victoria's Gippsland and Upper Murray Fires Recovery page or call 136 186. If you're looking to report wandering livestock, please call Council on 03 5153 9500.

 

Water supply

Those whose water has been affected by the bushfires can access emergency untreated water supplies at:

  • Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve has a connection point for people to fill up a water cube. You need a male 50mm Camlock fitting and pump. Limit use to 1,000 litres each so resources are not depleted.
  • Goose Gully (90 Balfours Rd, Lucknow) has a standpipe. Use is capped at 4,000 litres per person per day. 7am to 7pm daily.

For more information visit the Southern Rural Water website or phone 03 5139 3100.

 

Replacement of water used for firefighting

Property owners who have had water taken from dams or other private water supplies by DELWP or CFA can apply to have the water replaced.

 

Essential water replacement requests must be submitted within 3 months of the water being taken.

 

To make a request, fill in the Essential Water Replacement form. For enquiries call 1800 226 226.

 

Fencing waste stockpile sites

Sites have been set up by DELWP and council to stockpile agricultural metal/wire only waste.

Council has negotiated with a private contractor to collect this waste metal from these stockpile sites:

  • Ensay North: Blowhard gravel pit, Little River Road
  • Cobungra: Plowmans property at Tolands Road
  • Newmerella Recreation Reserve (western side of the showgrounds near highway, away from horse yards)
  • Buchan: old sawmill, 2286 Bruthen-Buchan Road
  • Omeo: 181 Depot Road
  • Wairewa” DELWP water point area, Carl Smith Road (site has been signed and flagged)
  • Nowa Nowa: old railway station
  • Cann River: old gravel pit off Cemetery Track

 


 

Mental health and wellbeing

Individuals affected by bushfire can experience a range of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can be intense, confusing and frightening. There are a number of support services available to the community, you'll find the details of these below. If you're unsure of who to reach out to, please get in touch with our local Bushfire Recovery team by phoning 03 5153 9500 and selecting 1, or by emailing BushfireRecoveryContactCentre@egipps.vic.gov.au.

  • Lifeline: 131 114 | 24-hour telephone counselling, information and referral service. 
  • BeyondBlue: 1300 224 636 | Provides information on depression and anxiety. To access professional counselling services, please make contact with your GP and ask for a referral. 
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800 | Confidential telephone counselling service for young people aged 5–25 years. 
  • Headspace: 1800 650 890 | Free online support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends.
  • ParentLine: 132 289 | Counselling and information for families with children (up to 18 years) from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. 
  • Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 978 | 24–hour counselling and advice for men.  

  • Safe Steps Family Violence Support: 1800 015 188 | 24-hour family violence support service.
  • Family Violence support:  1800 737 732 | There is an increased risk of family violence after an emergency. Help is available by confidentially calling 1800 737 732 or by going to the 1800 Respect website
  • Windermere: 1300 946 337 | Counselling and support for people of all ages affected by the bushfires.

 

Other matters

Secondary property assessments

Secondary property assessments are paused whilst stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

 

Emergency works - native vegetation

In the aftermath of the bushfires, you may be wondering what to do about damaged native vegetation on your property. If you believe fire-damaged trees on your property are a safety risk, you need to get a qualified aborist to inspect the tree to determine whether the tree is a risk. Council does not inspect trees on private property, so you will need to arrange your own arborist. 

 

Removal of any vegetation that does not fit the above criteria may need planning approval. Contact council on 03 5153 9500 to discuss your situation.

 

Rebuilding sustainably

Some people are starting to consider their options for rebuilding homes and property that have been lost in the fires. House design is rapidly evolving to meet the challenge of climate change, and new products are being developed to enable greater energy efficiency and resilience in the home.

If you are building or renovating it is important to do your research and to keep as up-to-date as possible on the latest developments, or to engage a designer or builder who meets your needs.

Council has two East Gippsland Shire-specific booklets with useful information that can be downloaded:

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Smart Living: A guide to sustainable building (for energy efficiency)

 

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Building Resilience: A guide to consider climate change in East Gippsland houses

Either download an electronic copy or collect a hardcopy from your nearest shire library or service centre. You can also request a hardcopy be posted to you by contacting sustainability@egipps.vic.gov.au with your name and postal address.

 

Fact sheets

Useful contacts

  • Centrelink: 132 850
  • Insurance Council of Australia disaster hotline: 1800 734 621
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS): Free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses who are in, or at risk of financial hardship. Call 1300 045 747
  • Farm household allowance: For farming families in financial hardship. Call the Farmers Assistance Hotline on 132 316 (Mon to Fri, 8am to 8pm).
  • State Trustees: 1300 138 672
  • Superannuation (early access on compassionate grounds): 1300 131 060 | Department of Human Services
  • Victorian Disaster Legal Aid: 1800 677 402
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria: Information and advice about your rights and obligations following an emergency, including on renting and rebuilding, and insurance. Visit the website or call 1300 558 181.
  • Australian Passport Information Service: You may be eligible for a free replacement passport if it has been lost or damaged in the bushfire.  Call 131 232.
  • Telstra: 132 203 to register for a relief package and/or assistance with free or interim services during the recovery period.

 

 

 

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