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Mallacoota Relocation Community Meetings

POSTED: 
2 January 2020

The state, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force, has commenced the relocation of people from Mallacoota, from Thu 2 Jan via HMAS Choules. 

Community Meetings

We will hold a community meeting 1pm today Thursday 2 January 2020 to provide further information. We will hold further community meetings at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.

These will be held at the Mallacoota Foreshore Cinema. 

Background

Mallacoota remains a vulnerable location for people for a number of reasons.

There are still active fires within the Gippsland region and within southern NSW.

We do not anticipate that the Princes Highway will be reopened for some weeks. This means that is unlikely people will not be able to leave via road for some time.

This also means that essential services are unlikely to be reconnected in the short term and it means that provision of food, water and fuel will remain compromised and are likely to represent a public health risk to the population.

We are conscious of the health impacts of remaining in a high smoke environment for extended periods of time, especially for vulnerable persons.

That is why we have already commenced relocation of vulnerable persons out of Mallacoota.

In addition to Mallacoota, we have a number of communities isolated across East Gippsland that we need to also assist over the coming days.

Due to the large numbers of people isolated in Mallacoota, HMAS Choules has been deployed to relocate hundreds of people over the coming days. Current planning is that we can take up to 1000 people per voyage.

It is planned for HMAS Choules to undertake 2-3 voyages over the coming days.

Due to the smoke conditions, there will be limited relocation via air assets over the coming days, that’s why we are focusing on moving the majority of people via sea.

We will be prioritising vulnerable individuals only for relocation via air and all other people will be moved via HMAS Choules.

Able-bodied adults and school aged children will be relocated via HMAS Choules.

Our priority will be to keep families together during relocation.

HMAS Choules is now located offshore. An advance team has landed on shore and is working with Victoria Police and the CFA to undertake detailed planning and communication with community.

Additional resources from Victoria Police and the Australian Red Cross are awaiting deployment into Mallacoota, which will occur as a priority once smoke conditions allow. 

Initial planning is that HMAS Choules will disembark people at Port Welshpool in South Gippsland. This is dependent on weather and sea conditions and onshore reception capabilities.

Contingency planning for Western Port on the Mornington Peninsula is also underway.

Community Meetings

We will hold a community meeting 1pm today Thursday 2 January 2020 to provide further information. We will hold further community meetings at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.

These will be held at the Mallacoota Foreshore Cinema. 

We are now asking people to consider whether you are going to stay, for an extended period of time, or whether you will relocate out of Mallacoota over the coming days.

If you are relocating please begin to bring together your personal effects and organise yourselves. There will be limited capacity for personal belongings on board and will be restricted to carry on.

People may be allowed to take their family pet – cat or dog only – on board with them. You will need to be responsible for the care of the animal on board and you should consider whether your pet is likely to be ok on a sea voyage and closely surrounded by people for an extended period.

For those pets that need to remain behind, we will consider appropriate local arrangements.

Victoria Police will remain an active presence within Mallacoota. Please take small valuables with you and ensure remaining belongings are appropriately secured in your vehicle or house.