People from lockdown areas can apply to visit holiday homes for fire clean-up

From Monday, regional property owners from metropolitan Melbourne or any other restricted regions will be able to apply to the relevant council where their second property is for written formal approval to undertake fire preparedness of their properties.

A new permit system will allow people from metropolitan Melbourne or any other restricted regions to undertake fire preparedness activities at a second property in regional Victoria.

But Wellington Shire council warns the travel exemptions, if granted, will not be a “green light” to visit the area for a holiday or weekend away.

From Monday, regional property owners from metropolitan Melbourne or any other restricted regions will be able to apply to the relevant council where their second property is for written formal approval to undertake fire preparedness of their properties.

Property owners will need to provide information about location, type of work to be undertaken and date of travel.

Permits can be issued by local councils, and will be effective from October 11.

For residents travelling from metropolitan Melbourne or any other restricted regions, the Chief Health Officer directions that apply to their primary residence will travel with them.

Regional property owners are being encouraged to use local contractors or neighbours to determine if preparedness work is required, ahead of making travel plans to undertake the work.

Local contractors should also be used to undertake preparedness work, wherever possible.

In a statement, Wellington Shire Council said applications would be assessed against guidelines set by the Chief Health Officer and state government.

If successful, a letter of exemption will be issued.

“This process may take up to five business days,” the statement read.

“Those travelling from metropolitan Melbourne or other areas that are under stricter COVID-19 regulations than Wellington must adhere to restrictions of their main place of residence travel with them.

“This means that obtaining a travel exemption from council is not a green light to visit the area for a holiday or a weekend away.

“The purpose of travel is strictly to perform maintenance or tasks relating to the preparation of a property for the fire season.”

Local councils will continue to issue Fire Prevention Notices where it is deemed necessary to place an obligation on property owners.

Residents issued with a Fire Prevention Notice are legally bound to comply, and can travel to their property to clean it up.

For more information about the travel exemption and how to apply, visit www.wellington.vic.gov.au/fire

For more information about the permit scheme visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au