Moving into fire recovery phase

THE state government says it will work closely with bushfire-affected councils and local communities on the support needed for clean-up and rebuilding, as services move towards a recovery phase.

Lightning strikes on February 28 sparked major fires across the region, 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 says it will work with communities, agencies and councils to help coordinate the recovery and to determine what additional support may be needed. Recovery centres have been established in Bunyip and Morwell, to help people access information and services.

Eligible households in the local government areas of Wellington, Baw Baw, Cardinia, Latrobe and South Gippsland 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.

People affected by the bushfires should speak to their local council to find out about clean-up and funding assistance.

A Community Relief Fund to support people 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 federal and state governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.