Relief & Recovery

South East Victoria Fires - March 2019

South East Fires - Funding Information

Primary Producer Clean-Up and Restoration Grants

The purpose of the grant is to provide financial assistance to primary producers located in the local government areas of Baw Baw, Cardinia and Latrobe that were impacted by the bushfires which occurred in February/March 2019. The grant can be used to fund the cost of clean-up and recovery. This assistance is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments under the DRFA, and the grants are administered by Rural Finance. 

The maximum support available under this program is $10,000. Applications must be submitted by 31 May 2020.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of:

  • equipment and materials to undertake clean-up.
  • additional labour costs (above and beyond normal wage expenditure).
  • disposing of damaged goods and injured or dead stock.
  • cost of disposal.
  • repairs to buildings (other than housing).
  • fencing not covered by any other assistance.
  • reconditioning/repairing essential plant and equipment.
  • replacement of deceased livestock.
  • salvaging, or re-establishing pastures and/or fodder crops (e.g. seed and fertiliser).
  • health maintenance for livestock and poultry.
  • purchase of fodder (not covered by other assistance).
  • purchase or hire/lease costs for equipment essential to the immediate resumption of farming.
  • replacement of essential water used by fire fighting.
  • water cartage.

Note: Compensation for lost income or amounts claimed under the Victorian Government State Coordinated Clean-Up Program are not an eligible item for grant assistance.

For further information on eligibility criteria visit the Rural Finance website, www.ruralfinance.com.au or phone 1800 260 425.

Concessional Loans

Concessional interest rate loans are available to eligible primary producers, small business and not-for-profit organisations in the Baw Baw, Cardinia and Latrobe Local Government Areas that have been affected by the March 2019 fires. The concessional loan can be used to fund the cost of clean-up, recovery and significant loss of income.

Applications for loan assistance close on 31 May 2020.

Concessional loans are administered by Rural Finance. For further information, visit the Rural Finance website, www.ruralfinance.com.au or phone 1800 260 425.

Disaster Recovery Payment

Payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child are now available for those worst-hit by bushfires in February and March this year in the Baw Baw, Cardinia and Latrobe Local Government Areas. 

For more information regarding eligibility or to make a claim visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or call 180 22 66.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short-term income support payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate their income has been affected as a direct result of a disaster. It assists employees, small business persons and farmers who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster and is payable for a maximum of thirteen weeks from the date at which an individual has, or will have, a loss of income as a direct result of a disaster.

Individuals within the following Local Government Areas have until the 4 June 2020 to make a claim:

  • Alpine
  • Baw Baw
  • Benalla
  • Campaspe
  • Cardinia
  • East Gippsland
  • Indigo
  • Latrobe
  • Macedon Ranges
  • Mansfield
  • Mitchell
  • Murrindindi
  • South Gippsland
  • Towong
  • Wangaratta
  • Wellington
  • Yarra Ranges

For more information regarding eligibility or to make a claim visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or call 180 22 66.

Case Support Services

A case support program is available for people significantly impacted by the fires in Cardinia Shire, Baw Baw Shire, Latrobe City, Wellington Shire and South Gippsland Shire. For more information about the financial assistance available please or call 1800 560 760. Or visit Windermere website for more information about case support.  

Or contact your local council:

What is case support?

Case support workers will work with individuals helping them navigate the various support services available including financial assistance; mental health services; family violence supports; services for repairing and rebuilding damaged properties and re-establishing livelihoods.

The program is available now and for the next 12 months.

How do I access the service?

To access the service, contact your local council or call 1800 560 760.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible for the service individuals and families must live within the identified local government areas, and have been significantly affected by the bushfires, in that they may have:

  • lost their home
  • experienced significant psychosocial trauma
  • experienced physical trauma
  • experienced a loss of livelihood due to business loss.

The case support worker will undertake an initial screening to determine the client’s situation, and if eligible they’ll develop a service contract (agreed to by the client) which outlines the tasks to be undertaken.

Funding acknowledgement

This program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and the Victorian Government.

Returning home after a fire

Red Cross also provides great safety information about returning home after a bushfire or see the Better Health Channel for key info on what to do to keep yourself and your family safe.

Tips:

  • Check with your local emergency services that it is safe to return to your property.
  • Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards.
  • These may include fallen or sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls.
  • When returning to your property, make sure you are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your health and safety.
  • Make sure you wear protective clothing before entering your property as hazardous material including asbestos may be present.
  • It is unsafe to spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or if CCA-treated timber was burnt. It is also unsafe to disturb the dust when walking around your property.
  • If you have a septic tank, remember it may have been weakened in the fire so do not drive or walk over it.

Recovery from bushfires

The Victorian Government has waived the landfill levy to help Victorians in the east recover from bushfires. For assistance cleaning up your property or local recovery services please contact your council. 

Clean up advice

Personal well-being

It is normal for a distressing or frightening event to affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. Additionally, long running fires in your local area can be extremely stressful and can trigger emotional, physical and psychological reactions. 

If you or a loved one need some extra support during this time, you can speak with your local doctor, a mental health professional or call 1800 560 760 to speak with one of our case support workers about local services available. 

You can also contact:

  • Your doctor, local community health centre 
  • A Counsellor or Psychologist
  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Parentline Tel. 13 22 89 or the Kids Helpline Tel. 1800 55 1800
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service Tel. 1800 333 497

Or visit the Better Health Channel for more information. 

Family violence

Emergencies put a lot of additional stress on close relationships and families as they struggle to deal with the stress. If you, or someone you know, need help there are services you can call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • The Orange Door is the access point to services for adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence. Visit orangedoor.vic.gov.au
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provides confidential support for women and children living with family violence. Call 1800 015 188 or visit safesteps.org.au
  • The Men’s Referral Service is a confidential telephone service for men who might be using violence towards a family member or who have been victimised by a partner or family member. Call 1300 766 491 or visit mrs.org.au

Call 000 if you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger.

Translated information

Translated trauma and recovery information available here

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