Counting flood’s costs

THE damage bill from the floods across Wellington Shire earlier this month is tipped to exceed $1 million, and nearly $140,000 in emergency relief funds have already been granted to flood victims.

Small-scale road recovery works have begun across the shire, patching up road surfaces that were gouged by floodwaters.

Since the floods, the Department of Human Services reported that 102 emergency relief payments and 34 emergency re-establishment payments have been made, totalling about $136,000.

“We believe 102 places of primary residence have been flood affected, with 24 of these currently uninhabitable,” a DHS representative said on Friday.

“DHS is now working through a range of options to support those people that have been displaced.”

Council chief executive David Morcom said flood impact assessment was work was “progressing well”, with assessments already carried out on buildings, roads and other infrastructure that were affected by the floods.

“Flood recovery information currently estimates that the cost of damage in and around the Wellington Shire is in excess of $1 million,” Mr Morcom said.

“Urgent rehabilitation works have started and we will progressively claim the cost of these works from the State Government; although it is anticipated that the state government may provide some upfront funding in this instance.

“Wellington Shire Council will provide details of damage to the State Government seeking assistance in the undertaking of rehabilitation works.

“Council will then proceed with repair works as quickly as possible.

“In some instances this may be performed by council staff and in other instances it may be included in a package of works already underway.

“Council may need to tender for some of the larger road works.

“We are in regular contact with the state, through the Department of Planning and Community Development to ensure this process runs as smoothly as possible.”

The Insurance Council of Australia has reminded locals that its disaster hotline is still available for residents to phone. For information on which insurer you are with, and for general inquiries about the claims process, phone the ICA disaster hotline on 1800 734 621.

More information on emergency financial assistance is available at the DHS’ Recovering from Floods website at www.floodrecovery.vic.gov.au