Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority Day by MikeJenny



and Recovery
100 Day Report

Message from Christine Nixon
                         Victoria is only just beginning to recover from the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

                         Rebuilding homes and towns, supporting local economies, regenerating the natural environment
                         and restoring community identity is an enormous task – for government, for businesses, and most
                         of all for the communities themselves. Many people are starting to plan for their future, but many
                         others are still deeply affected by the traumatic experiences they have suffered.

                         The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments established the Bushfire Reconstruction and
                         Recovery Authority to coordinate and oversee the rebuilding program. This Report outlines the
                         steps we have taken in our first 100 days.

Each fire affected community has very specific rebuilding needs. We are now in the process of identifying those needs
so we can support communities to rebuild in the way they want. The sheer size of the devastated area and the huge
number of people and organisations involved have presented challenges, but we are working through those issues
in partnership with Community Recovery Committees, local councils, state and federal government departments and
agencies, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector.

Among many other recovery activities, the clean-up is underway, temporary villages are being established at Marysville,
Kinglake and Flowerdale, and 29 community meetings have been held with more than 4400 people to develop medium
and long-term rebuilding plans that reflect the wishes of each fire affected region.

The reconstruction effort is a sensitive, evolving, step-by-step process. I would like to thank the many thousands of people
I have met for their incredible spirit and determination to get on with the job of rebuilding. I would also like to acknowledge
the commitment and contribution of our key partners, including the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments.

Victoria’s fire affected communities will heal at different times, in different ways. As the rebuilding program gains momentum,
we will continue to respect their views, to consult widely, to continuously improve the way we work, and to do everything
possible to enable communities to move forward with confidence into the future.

We have a long and difficult road ahead of us – but together we will rebuild.

Christine Nixon, APM
Chair, Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority

The Authority’s Terms of Reference
1. Advise governments, coordinate efforts and develop an over-arching plan for the restoration and recovery of regions,
   towns and communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires
2. Work closely with the community in the process of rebuilding and recovery, and ensure that individuals and communities
   are consulted closely – with such consultations to be transparent and sensitive to local needs
3. Analyse, and advise governments on, the impact of the bushfires on the communities, economy, infrastructure and
   environment in affected areas
4. Coordinate activities and the work of relevant organisations to help regions, towns and individuals re-establish their
   communities once it is safe to do so, in a way that is respectful of individual and community needs
5. Ensure that services to people affected are easily available and coordinated across all levels of government and
   community organisations
6. Work with communities to develop coordinated plans to deal with the effects of the disaster on local economies,
   communities, infrastructure and the environment. These plans should cover the immediate recovery requirements
   and longer term development
7. Have overall responsibility for ensuring that communities are rebuilt and projects are delivered quickly and efficiently
8. Work closely with all funding sources, including the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, to ensure effective
   and coordinated expenditure of funds

We will rebuild                             1
People and communities                      6
2009 Victorian bushfires map               13
Reconstruction                             15
Local economies                            18
Environment                                21
Grants and assistance                      25
   Next steps and goals for the bushfire
   reconstruction and recovery             27
   Abbreviations and acronyms              27
   Important contacts for people
   affected by the bushfires               28
   Communication channels                  28

    We will rebuild
    Unprecedented natural disaster
    In February 2009 Victoria was devastated by the worst bushfires in
    Australia’s history.
    The scale of this tragedy was unprecedented. By the time the fires
    were contained, 173 people had lost their lives and many others
    were seriously injured, 78 communities were impacted and 430,000
    hectares of land was destroyed.

    Temporary Village, Flowerdale, April 2009

    The long-term social, economic,              The Commonwealth Government has               The rebuilding task will be complex
    cultural, physical and environmental         also made a significant contribution          and far-reaching.
    impacts of the February bushfires            to the recovery, with financial and
                                                                                               As each of Victoria’s fire affected
    are yet to be fully assessed. To date,       other assistance totalling $212 million.
                                                                                               communities moves down the road
    insurance claims for residential,            In recognition of the unprecedented
                                                                                               to recovery, they will be supported to
    commercial, industrial and farming           impact and devastation caused by
                                                                                               rebuild based on their local needs and
    losses total around $1.2 billion.            the bushfires, the Commonwealth
                                                                                               at their own pace.
                                                 Government has agreed to fund 50
    In the 2009–10 Victorian Budget              per cent of eligible relief and recovery
    approximately $1 billion was allocated       activities being delivered by the             Victorian Bushfire
    to fund the cost of fighting the fires and   Victorian Government. This includes a         Reconstruction and
    supporting fire affected individuals,        number of exceptional circumstance            Recovery Authority
    communities and business to recover.         assistance measures under the
    The bushfire activities that are being                                                     The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and
                                                 Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery
    delivered by the Victorian Government                                                      Recovery Authority was established three
                                                 Arrangements. This agreement
    are funded either through new                                                              days after Black Saturday on 7 February.
                                                 represents the Commonwealth
    commitments, including those published       Government’s commitment to assist             The role of the Authority is to oversee
    in the 2009–10 Budget, or are being          Victoria to recover from this tragic event.   and coordinate the largest recovery and
    funded from within existing resources
                                                                                               rebuilding program Victoria has ever
    (such as from reprioritisation, existing     Both Governments will continue to
                                                                                               faced. It will ensure that fire affected
    grant programs or other means).              support the bushfire recovery and
                                                                                               communities are rebuilt, that projects
                                                 rebuilding phase.

are delivered quickly and efficiently,       The Bushfire Recovery and
and all those affected by the fires have     Reconstruction Committee of                    John Landy AC MBE
access to relevant government and            Cabinet – comprising Victorian and             (Chair)
non-government assistance.                   Commonwealth Government Ministers
                                             – is responsible for making the policy
The Authority is primarily a coordinating                                                   (Vice Chancellor, University
                                             decisions on the Victorian Government’s
body, working closely with communities,                                                     of Melbourne)
                                             response to the bushfires.
businesses, charities, local councils
and Victorian and Commonwealth               An Interagency Taskforce and an
                                                                                            (former Deputy Premier of Victoria)
Government departments and                   Expert Reference Group have been
agencies to oversee the rebuilding           established to provide advice to and
and recovery program.                        work with the Authority – and comprise         (Mayor of Murrindindi Shire Council)
                                             of key community stakeholders
Individual fire affected communities are     including industry bodies, community
now being supported to rebuild in the way                                                   (Chief Executive of Australian Red
                                             organisations, the Municipal Association
they want. The Authority’s objective is to                                                  Cross and former Commonwealth
                                             of Victoria (MAV), the Country Fire
understand the different needs of those                                                     Government Minister)
                                             Authority (CFA), Victoria Police, Members
communities and to help them rebuild         of Parliament, and Victorian and
and recover in a way that is safe, timely,   Commonwealth Government officials.             (the Authority’s Chair)
efficient, cost-effective and sensitive.
                                             Meetings of Bushfire Industry
At this point, the Authority is also         Champions – leading business and               (DHS)
coordinating two reconstruction              community figures – have been held
and recovery projects which are                                                           Funds are already flowing to people
                                             to respond to the offers of assistance
unprecedented roles for government in                                                     and communities affected through a
                                             and discuss ways in which the private
disaster recovery – the demolition and                                                    series of grants. A separate report is
                                             sector can help in the reconstruction
clean-up operation and the creation of                                                    being released by the independent
                                             effort. Future meetings will be arranged
temporary villages in Marysville, Kinglake                                                Advisory Panel detailing all assistance
                                             if the need arises.
and Flowerdale.                                                                           allocated and distributed to date.

                                             Victorian Bushfire                           The Authority will continue to work
Key Leaders and Committees                   Royal Commission                             alongside the independent Advisory Panel
                                                                                          to share the data and information needed
Christine Nixon APM has been Chair           The Victorian Bushfires Royal                to assist fire affected communities and to
of the Authority since 2 March and           Commission was established on                coordinate the rebuilding program.
is responsible for overseeing the            16 February to investigate the causes
rebuilding and recovery effort.              of and responses to the bushfires.
                                                                                          Coronial Investigations
On 25 February, the Commonwealth             The Authority is assisting the Royal         and Taskforce Phoenix
Government appointed Bill Shorten            Commission by responding to requests
MP as its Parliamentary Secretary                                                         The Victorian Coroner is primarily
                                             and redirecting any enquiries and
for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction                                                     responsible for investigating the
                                             submissions inadvertently received from
to assist the Hon Jenny Macklin                                                           circumstances of deaths related to the
                                             the public. It will also note the findings
MP Minister for Families, Housing,
   ,                                                                                      bushfires. The first stage of this has been
                                             of the Royal Commission’s interim
Community Services and Indigenous                                                         to ensure that a rigorous process of
                                             report to be released by 17 August.
Affairs, in leading the Commonwealth                                                      identification is followed in the timeliest
contribution and ensuring a                                                               way possible. A key part of this process
collaborative Commonwealth-State             Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund               is ensuring that the many people who
response to the bushfire reconstruction                                                   lost loved ones in this disaster are
                                             The Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund
and recovery process.                                                                     supported during the Coronial process.
                                             was established on 8 February by the
The Authority has established other          Victorian Government in partnership          The bushfire victim identification process
leadership roles and governance              with the Commonwealth Government             for the 173 people reported missing was
mechanisms to support its work.              and Australian Red Cross in response         completed by the Coroner on 8 May.
Major General John Cantwell AO               to the overwhelming generosity from
                                             across Australia and internationally         The Coroner’s Office is working with a
was appointed as the interim head
                                             wanting to support individuals and           number of professionals and experts,
of the Authority from 12 February to
                                             communities affected by the bushfires.       including Victoria Police and the
2 March until Ms Nixon took over.
                                                                                          Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to
Major General Cantwell is now the            Funds donated through Red Cross have         investigate the circumstances surrounding
Authority’s Chief of Operations.             been transferred into a separate Trust       the deaths. Victoria Police has established
The Authority is in the process of           Account established by the Victorian         Taskforce Phoenix which will provide
appointing a permanent Chief Executive       Government. As of 13 May, over $346          briefs of evidence to the Coroner about
Officer to oversee its                       million has been received and over           the circumstances surrounding the fires.
day-to-day operations.                       $240 million has been allocated and          If Taskforce Phoenix charge a person
                                             made available to bushfire survivors.        or persons with criminal offences, that
The Authority reports to the Premier         Funds are being distributed through the      criminal investigation and any prosecution
of Victoria and is finalising its staffing   Department of Human Services (DHS)           will need to be completed before the
and support structures.                      under the oversight of an independent        Coroner’s investigation can be completed.
                                             Advisory Panel comprising:

    Long-term planning framework
    Recovery and reconstruction in fire affected regions is an enormous task that must take into account the
    needs of all affected communities.
    The involvement of communities is at the forefront of the planning process and their contribution is being
    progressed through the ongoing community engagement activities led by the Authority. The first step has
    been to establish Community Recovery Committees to represent community views.
    The Authority is coordinating the input of communities, local councils, Victorian Government departments
    and agencies and the Commonwealth Government as part of the planning process.
    Project control groups have been established with local councils to assist the rebuilding planning process.
    Community recovery plans are now being developed by Community Recovery Committees. These plans
    will capture all of the recovery and reconstruction activity and will be integrated into a Bushfire Recovery
    and Reconstruction Master Plan, which the Authority expects to be completed later in 2009.

    Recovery and reconstruction framework
    The Authority is using a recognised disaster recovery framework and has designed some overall guiding principles
    to govern activities:

                                                            Safety, Health,
                                                5             Wellbeing
                                         Environment                              3
                                          Biodiversity                     Reconstruction
                                        and Ecosystems,           1
                                           Amenities,                        Residential,
                                                                Local       Commercial,
                                       Waste and Pollution Community
                                         Management,                            Rural,
                                       Natural Resources                   Public Buildings

    Guiding Principles
    As a starting point for the framework the following               Community Engagement
    guiding principles will govern the overall activities             Community involvement is key and will be pursued
    of the Authority through the recovery process:                    through all activities with management at the local
                                                                      level empowered to deliver results
    The safety and welfare of people in the local                     Integrity
    community including householders, volunteers                      Provision of services and resources will be governed
    and workers will be the top level priority and will               by the principles of fairness and equity
    not be compromised
                                                                      Tailored solutions
    Meeting Needs                                                     The needs of each community impacted by the fires
    Resources for recovery will be focused on areas                   are different and the recovery solutions will be tailored
    of greatest need in each community                                to the specific needs of each community.


Impact of the Bushfires
By the time the bushfires were contained, they had destroyed or affected:

   pasture, the equivalent of 212,000 Melbourne
   Cricket Ground arenas                                         hay, wool and machinery sheds

   – another 1400 damaged

   destroyed – with 47 primary schools partially damaged
   or requiring cleaning

   Crown land boundaries, and internal, the equivalent
   of four return trips from Melbourne to Brisbane

Emergency Relief                                                 Insurance Claims
Presentations to public hospital emergency wards    800          Insurance claims received                                      10,020
Patients admitted to public hospitals               180          Total cost of insurance claims                            $1.2 billion
First aid treatments administered by Red Cross     5200          Emergency payments and
Kilograms of food aid provided                   500,000         cash settlements made                                   $457 million
Offers of accommodation provided                  10,000         Claims completed for damaged
                                                                 residential properties                                   98 per cent
Relief Centres established                           18
Recovery Centres established                         25          Claims completed for damaged
                                                                 commercial properties                                    99 per cent

Community Consultation and Engagement                            Housing
Community meetings held by the Authority             29          Housing assessments made by DHS                                   1344
Attendees at these meetings                        4400          Public housing provided                                            113
Community Recovery Committees forming                30          Community housing provided                                           14
Community Service Hubs established                   12          Emergency accommodation provided                                   252
                                                                 Bond supplied                                                      156
                                                                 Private rentals secured                                            427
Case Management System
                                                                 Donated caravans allocated                                           55
Case managers                                       385
                                                                 Shared accommodation provided                                        42
Families/individuals accessing case managers       5000
                                                                 Own accommodation acquired (family/friends)                        429

Properties registered for clean-up                 3000          Grants
Grocon crews working in fire affected areas         140          Amount received in Appeal Fund                          $341 million
Properties cleaned up                              1008          Amount allocated from Appeal Fund                       $235 million

                                                               * Some statistics have been rounded and were correct at the time of printing


    Community Recovery Planning Day, Marysville, May 2009

People and communities
Victoria’s fire affected communities will recover at different rates
and at different times. Despite this, local families, individuals,
businesses and councils are now actively involved in planning
for their future.

Emergency Relief and Housing                provided to assist service providers         Safe Victoria worked closely with the
                                            meet the increased demands for               industry and unions to ensure that
The day after the fires, immediate help     emergency relief and to connect those        generators were safely connected to
and support was put in place.               affected with the community support          properties without electricity.
The Commonwealth Disaster Plan was          services they required.
                                                                                         The bushfires also damaged major
activated and thousands of people           Over 10,000 offers of accommodation          transmission lines linking the Victorian
came together from across a range           were made to the newly established toll-     and New South Wales electricity grids.
of emergency service organisations,         free Victorian Bushfire Accommodation        The temporary loss of these lines
government departments and agencies         Donation Line – with over 5200 offers        caused extensive local loss of supply
– including CFA, Department of              considered suitable.                         on the morning of 8 February.
Sustainability and Environment (DSE),
Parks Victoria, State Emergency Service     Tent cities, now disbanded, were             The bushfires also caused substantial
(SES), Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB),     established at relief centres on ovals       damage to telecommunication
Victoria Police, Australian Defence Force   in Yea, Whittlesea and Alexandra.            networks, particularly exchanges,
(ADF), Australian Federal Police (AFP)      Temporary accommodation options              base stations and cabling. Bushfires
and other Victorian and Commonwealth        have included public housing,                damaged 18 Telstra base stations and
Government agencies.                        community housing, emergency                 affected certain services including five
                                            accommodation, private rentals, private      telephone exchanges, some 2200 ADSL
Victorian firefighters were also            caravans and placement with families         services, 2900 PSTN services, as well as
supported by their colleagues from          around Victoria.                             mobile, ISDN and IP services.
Tasmania, South Australia, Western
Australia, New South Wales, the             This was an extraordinary response and       Additional temporary mobile phone
Australian Capital Territory, the United    greatly appreciated by all Victorians.       coverage was established at Yea,
States, New Zealand and Canada. The                                                      Alexandra, Whittlesea, Whittlesea
ADF established a Victorian-based           Power and                                    East, Healesville, Healesville Central,
joint taskforce of more than 850 people     Telecommunications                           Seymour Central, Trawool, Kinglake,
to assist with specialist advice and                                                     Flowerdale and Strathewen to enable
emergency engineering, medical and          In bushfire affected areas, local            people to remain in contact.
psychological support.                      electricity distribution networks were
                                            severely damaged.                            Medical Assistance
In the aftermath of the fires, thousands
of volunteer groups, individuals and        On the evening of 7 February more            and Public Health
community organisations did whatever        than 60,000 customers were without           Victorian public hospitals provided
they could to help.                         electricity as a result of the bushfires.    emergency care to more than 800
                                            By the following morning approximately       people and admitted more than 130
As an example Red Cross administered        19,500 customers were still without
more than 5200 first aid treatments,                                                     patients with a fire-related injury or
                                            electricity. Electricity was progressively   illness. Victorian Medical Assistance
took over 22,000 registrations and in       restored to customers over the next
conjunction with VicRelief Foodbank                                                      Teams were also deployed from
                                            three weeks as severely damaged              metropolitan hospitals to various
supported the provision of approximately    parts of the distribution system
500,000 kilograms of food aid.                                                           regional and rural hospitals to assist in
                                            were re-built.                               treating those requiring medical care.
Emergency relief organisations received     In the interim electricity supply was
support from the Commonwealth                                                            Field Primary Care Clinics were
                                            restored to many intact buildings            established in the fire affected regions
Government, through $6 million              with portable generators. Energy             of Kinglake, Kinglake West, Flowerdale,

    Whittlesea and Traralgon South,                to safely go back onto their property        and initial recovery was the largest
    with paramedics, volunteer nurses              to salvage their surviving possessions.      ever undertaken by Victoria Police and
    and general practitioners to support           These included face masks, gardening         AFP – with all of Victoria Police’s five
    community and emergency services.              gloves, disposable overalls and bags to      policing regions and 16 departments
                                                   collect waste.                               and more than 150 AFP officers
    Over 100 environmental health staff                                                         contributing support.
    were deployed to assist councils and           The Environment Protection Authority
    communities in the days and weeks after        (Victoria), in collaboration with DHS,       Victoria Police coordinated with the
    the fires to help manage public health         undertook an asbestos monitoring             ADF to conduct initial Rapid Impact
    issues including food safety, water quality,   program immediately prior to and             Assessments. These assessments
    waste management and effluent disposal.        during the clean-up phase. To date,          were conducted on behalf of the
                                                   over 250 samples have been collected         Office of the Emergency Services
    There were significant public health           across the bushfire affected areas and       Commissioner and provided an
    risks related to hazardous materials on        analysed for total air fibres. In each of    understanding of the extent of the
    fire affected sites, such as asbestos,         these samples the level of fibres is less    devastation, to assist response and
    damaged septic tanks and unstable              than 0.01 fibre/ml, the level at which the   recovery work.
    structures. As a result, DHS led the           test can detect fibres.
    coordination of a public safety awareness                                                   More than 22 manned roadblocks
    campaign. This included providing                                                           – partial and full road closures – were
    information on returning to fire affected      Community Safety                             established and operated 24-hours-a-
    sites and the distribution of approximately    The size and scope of the policing           day at various stages in the fire affected
    14,000 ‘fossicker kits’ to allow people        component of the emergency response          areas of Kinglake and Marysville.

      Community meetings the Authority has held or attended

       Date                       Where                 Attendees         Date                     Where                Attendees
                                                   (approximately)                                                 (approximately)

       Sunday 01 March            Boolarra                    150         Saturday 21 March        Marysville                   800

       Sunday 01 March            Mirboo North                150         Sunday 22 March          Yarram                       150

       Monday 02 March            Traralgon South             350         Sunday 29 March          Churchill                     60

       Wednesday 04 March         Kinglake                    200         Tuesday 31 March         Buxton and Taggerty          150

       Wednesday 04 March         Kinglake West                 50        Friday 3 April           Frankston                     35

       Sunday 08 March            Flowerdale                    60        Sunday 5 April           Strathewen                    70

       Thursday 12 March          Labertouche                 300         Wednesday 8 April        Healesville                   60

       Thursday 12 March          Tonimbuk                      30        Wednesday 8 April        Yarra Glen                   200

       Friday 13 March            Kinglake West               600         Tuesday 14 April         Haven (Horsham)               30

       Sunday 15 March            St Andrews                    80        Wednesday 15 April       Coleraine                     30

       Monday 16 March            Broadford                   350         Wednesday 15 April       Pomborneit                    25

       Wednesday 18 March         Redesdale                     25        Friday 17 April          Flowerdale                    40

       Wednesday 18 March         Long Gully                    70        Friday 1 May             Narbethong                    40

       Thursday 19 March          Stanley                       40        Sunday 3 May             Marysville                   150

       Thursday 19 March          Mudgegonga                  100

                                                                                                                        Total 4395


Burnt forest, near St Andrews, March 2009

    Christine Nixon, Community Time Out Day, Traralgon South, March 2009

    Additional unmanned road closures                     The Authority is committed to a recovery    have travelled widely to visit fire
    operated with road signage. These                     process that includes and engages           affected communities and the Victorian
    restrictions were critical in minimising              communities with determining their          Government has held Community
    risks to the community both during the                recovery requirements and priorities.       Cabinet meetings in the Yarra Valley,
    fires and during the aftermath because                To begin this process, a series of          Eaglehawk and Redesdale.
    of damage to roads and removal of                     community meetings across Victoria
                                                                                                      Across Victoria, up to 30 Community
    unsafe trees.                                         have been held to listen to communities
                                                                                                      Recovery Committees are being
                                                          and to begin to understand their specific
    Disaster Victim Identification teams were                                                         established to coordinate the recovery
                                                          recovery and rebuilding needs.
    deployed to support police investigations                                                         efforts and requirements in their
    into bushfire related deaths. International           Christine Nixon and members of the          community. As a first step, these
    support came from New Zealand                         Authority have attended a wide range of     Community Recovery Committees will
    Police and Indonesian National Police.                community meetings and public events.       prepare a community recovery plan,
    Interstate support came from Western                  To date, the Authority has held 29          which will outline the many aspects of
    Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales,                 community meetings with approximately       recovery that need to be considered.
    Queensland and the Northern Territory.                4400 attendees – with Ms Nixon
                                                                                                      These plans will encompass the
    Under operation “Royals”, Victoria                    addressing communities at 26 of these
                                                                                                      shorter-term and longer-term wishes
    Police – with support from the New South              meetings. In addition to these meetings
                                                                                                      of the community for rebuilding and
    Wales Police, AFP ADF, SES and CFA –                  and public events, the Authority has
                                                                                                      recovery, including:
    conducted comprehensive searches of                   also met with a number of community
    more than 5700 properties. Almost 3400                committees and supported other forums
    of those had burnt or destroyed homes                 across Victoria.                             (homes, urban design, community
    or other structures.                                                                               infrastructure and facilities)
                                                          Hundreds of issues have been raised
    The Red Cross provided support to                     at these meetings. Many comments
    Victoria Police in managing the National              and suggestions have influenced the          (parks, reserves, forests and wildlife)
    Registration and Inquiry System to                    activities and decisions of the Authority
    record and account for persons affected               and have been raised with other
    by the fires.                                         organisations, including the Victorian       (health and wellbeing of individuals,
                                                          Bushfire Appeal Fund. The Authority          families and communities)
    Marysville Police Station was destroyed               is yet to meet with a small number of
    and is to be rebuilt. Temporary                       communities and expects to do so in
    accommodation within the township                                                                  (rebuilding and supporting
                                                          the coming weeks and months.                 business and industry).
    is being used to maintain Marysville
    police service delivery 24-hours-a-day.               Ms Nixon has also visited many towns
    Kinglake Police Station suffered minor                and areas and attended a number             Donations
    damage and policing services have                     of community events, including the
    been maintained.                                      opening of the Kinglake Football and        An overwhelming number of goods
                                                          Netball Season, the Traralgon South         and services were generously donated
                                                          and Community Time Out Day and the          by many people – from individuals to
    Community Consultation                                                                            multinational companies.
    and Engagement                                        Toolangi and Castella Bush Celebration.
                                                          In addition, the Premier of Victoria, the   The management and distribution of
    Communities recover best when                                                                     all the generous contributions received
    they are supported to manage their                    Prime Minister and both Victorian and
                                                          Commonwealth Government Ministers           during the emergency response and
    own recovery.

early recovery phase pushed various             The Authority is developing a system to      Interim arrangements have seen
agencies to their capacity. Importantly,        match pledged goods and services to the      students from Strathewen Primary
the Victorian Government was heavily            needs of individuals and communities.        School attending Wattle Glen Primary
supported by many companies,                    This system will include a new database      School; students from Marysville
non-government organisations and                of donations, which regionally located       Primary School attending Taggerty
volunteers with the management and              staff can feed into community channels       Primary School; and students from
distribution of donated goods.                  to understand the local needs. In terms      Middle Kinglake Primary School
                                                of the larger donations, the Authority is    attending Epping Views Primary School
The unprecedented volume of                     awaiting the establishment of community      or Kinglake Primary School while their
donations offered within days of                recovery plans, being developed by           interim schools are established. Middle
the bushfires initially challenged all          Community Recovery Committees. Once          Kinglake Primary School was provided
involved in supporting bushfire                 the plans are finalised the Authority will   with a relocatable building complex on
affected communities. For example,              be better placed to advise major donors      land next to the destroyed school,
the immediacy of needs required a               on the medium to long-term community         which opened on 30 March.
rapid response and at times it appeared         needs. Importantly, the Authority
that multiple agencies were trying to           will continue to act in its key role as      Community members are now starting to
address similar needs.                          coordinator and facilitator of donations     plan the rebuilding of schools destroyed
                                                between donors and people in need.           by fire at Strathewen, Middle Kinglake
The Victorian Government quickly                                                             and Marysville. School community
developed a database to coordinate              The process will ensure the distribution
                                                of donations are targeted and allocated      reference teams are being formed in
the overwhelming amount of donations                                                         each of the three towns to give local
received from across Australia and around       fairly and efficiently.
                                                                                             input into planning what their new
the world. Thousands of donations were                                                       schools will look like. Victoria has been
matched to people and communities               Case Management System                       given priority access to draw on its share
in need, ranging from household and                                                          of the Commonwealth Government’s
material products to equipment for the          On 10 February, the Victorian and
                                                Commonwealth Governments jointly             $14.7 billion Building the Education
clean-up. The generous pro-bono support                                                      Revolution Program for reconstruction.
of a number of companies assisted with          announced that a case manager would
the early distribution of material aid to       be assigned to each Victorian family         The Authority is working with local
bushfire affected communities.                  affected by the bushfires. A case            communities in Marysville, Flowerdale
                                                management system and call centre            and Kinglake on options for rebuilding
The Authority is working closely with           were established three days later            children’s services. Some community
communities and non-government                  to ensure fire affected communities          reference teams may explore options
organisations to ensure that donated            have coordinated access to support,          that could see schools and children’s
goods can continue to be distributed            information and advocacy services.           centres located on the same site.
to communities throughout the
reconstruction and recovery period.             Recruiting and supporting the required       Regional staff and principals, many
A warehouse and distribution solution,          number of suitable case managers             of whom were directly affected by the
jointly funded by the Victorian and             within weeks of the fires has been           fires, were in constant contact with
Commonwealth Governments, is being              a challenging task, but was one to           families affected by the bushfires to
implemented by the Authority to support         which Victorian and Commonwealth             ensure counselling, education and
the longer-term distribution of material aid.   Governments and community agencies           early childhood services were provided
                                                rose. To date, the case management           where appropriate. Immediately after the
The Authority is working with a number of       system has 385 case managers                 fires, the Department of Early Education
major donors, ranging from foundations          supporting over 5000 individuals             and Childhood Development (DEECD)
to corporate donors, who are seeking            or families. There is continuing             provided activity programs and support
to contribute to community projects and         demand for this service, with                for young children located in relief
provide various forms of support. These         approximately 100 new people                 centres in Kinglake, Yea and Alexandra.
donors are working with the Authority           registering each week. Case
to understand the needs and wants of            managers are being recruited.                DEECD also provided extensive
communities, which are guided by a                                                           support, including student support
community planning process.                     Case managers are working with families      services officers to provide counselling
                                                and individuals to assist them with          and psychosocial support to schools
Over 3000 donations of goods and                locating and understanding the services      and children’s services in fire affected
services were pledged through a range           available, and connecting them with the      areas; and support for children,
of channels and are stored on the               services that best meet their needs.         adolescents, parents and carers at
Authority’s database. These donations                                                        a number of relief centres. Funding
also include a number from major donors                                                      was provided by the Commonwealth
who have pledged varying types of
                                                Education and Early
                                                Childhood Assistance                         Government to support 29 Victorian
significant donations – including offers                                                     playgroups, to ensure bushfire affected
such as flights, kitchenware, building          The 2009 February bushfires destroyed        children had immediate access to high
services and building materials - to            three primary schools at Middle              quality early childhood services.
support the reconstruction and recovery         Kinglake, Marysville and Strathewen.
efforts. This amounts to over $10 million       A further 47 primary schools were
worth of goods, services and financial          partially damaged or required cleaning
project-focused contributions donated           as a result of the bushfires.
or pledged to date.


     Relief and Recovery Centres                             Eaglehawk, Narre Warren North, Narre         Whittlesea, Alexandra, Hurstbridge,
     and Community Service Hubs                              Warren South, Bunyip, Healesville,           St Andrews and Flowerdale.
                                                             Labertouche, Yarra Glen, Alexandra,
     Emergency relief centres were                           Kinglake, Drouin West, Jindivik,             Each hub will be overseen by a Hub
     established, to provide immediate support               Mudgegonga and Myrtleford. Recovery          Captain. Recruitment is underway for
     to those affected by the bushfires, in the              centres in Mirboo North, Yarra Glen,         Hub Captains, who will work closely
     towns of Healesville, Yarra Glen, Wallan,               Alexandra and Boolarra remain open.          with Community Development Officers,
     Alexandra, Kinglake, Kinglake West, Yea,                                                             case managers and Centrelink to
     Arthurs Creek, St Andrews, Diamond                      Community Service Hubs are a central         ensure coordination of individuals’
     Creek, Whittlesea, Daylesford, Lilydale,                component of the recovery effort.            issues with local communities’ issues,
     Warragul, Yarram, Kyneton, Kilsyth and                  Hubs serve primarily as a ‘one-stop          and to connect with the community
     Ferntree Gully. Relief centres remain open              shop’ for a range of services including      development process. The ongoing
     in Diamond Creek and Whittlesea.                        financial support, housing and               operation of Community Service Hubs
                                                             counselling, and as a ‘drop in centre’       will be reviewed as necessary.
     Recovery centres were established,                      that facilitates interaction amongst
     to provide support and assistance                       community members, the development
     with services to those affected by the                  of support networks and establishment
     bushfires, in the towns of Traralgon,                   of locally relevant ‘recovery’ activities.
     Mirboo North, Yarram, Warragul,
     Churchill, Traralgon South, Boolarra,                   Hubs are being established at Traralgon
     Horsham, Wandong, Metcalfe,                             South, Marysville, Kinglake, Kinglake
                                                             West, Buxton, Narbethong, Strathewen,

     Marysville Temporary Village under construction, March 2009

         Emotional and psychosocial support
         In the immediate aftermath of the fires a range of emotional and psychosocial supports were coordinated by
         local councils, DHS and numerous service providers. Their response was remarkable and something that all
         those involved should be proud of.
         During the height of the response Personal Support Emergency Counsellors coordinated by the Victorian
         Council of Churches were deployed to relief centres and through the Red Cross outreach program. A total of
         954 hours of personal support counselling was provided to the fire affected communities. These counsellors
         played a critical role in supporting those who were most affected by the fires.
         In several instances, the emotional and psychological support needs of affected communities were such
         that additional supports were brought in to assist the most affected areas. For example, staff from the
         Austin Hospital’s Trauma Related Mental Health Service and Royal Children’s Hospital provided support to
         individuals and families in Marysville and Flowerdale, working in partnership with the Goulburn Valley Area
         Mental Health Service. The Austin’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service provided support to several
         communities and Eastern Health and North West Mental Health provided extensive support to the Kinglake
         and Kinglake West communities. The level of cooperation and collaboration was tremendous.


Supporting Community Recovery Committees and Teams

     this to help to deliver its recovery services

     Coordinators will ensure that all people working across Government to support recovery efforts are
     effectively facilitating recovery solutions for communities

                             Community Recovery Teams
                             - Each region will have a dedicated Community Recovery Team comprised of a range
                               of different local council, Victorian and Commonwealth Government staff
                             - The team will support Community Recovery Committees and be established with
                               a range of appropriate skills and resource levels required for that area
                             - Community Development Officers can facilitate a range of services and support
                               agencies to assist communities.

                             Community Service Hubs
                             - Community Service Hubs will be available in those communities requiring extended
                               recovery services nearby
                             - The Hubs facilitate the entry and availability of a range of support services for
                               individuals (e.g. Centrelink, rebuilding advice, welfare services)
                             - Hubs will be staffed by a Hub Captain.

                             Material Aid Centre
                             - Some regions will have material aid centres which distribute donated goods
                             - Where this is not the case, communities will have direct access to the ‘Central’
                               Material Aid Centre via case managers and the Community Service Hubs.

Case study
An important part of community             communities of Traralgon South and          The committee has also worked with a
recovery in the wake of the bushfires      Callignee, Hazelwood and Jeeralang,         facilitator to support the development
is the creation of Community               and Boolarra and Yinnar. In the Boolarra    of a clear purpose and priorities for
Recovery Committees.                       and Yinnar area, the Council’s recovery     the local recovery efforts. A number
                                           team first met with the existing Boolarra   of short and longer-term community
These committees represent the needs
                                           Community Development Group to              needs have been identified for the
of the community and are working
                                           form the Boolarra/Yinnar Community          community recovery plan. This plan
to develop a community recovery
                                           Recovery Committee, which focuses on        will be presented to the Authority, who
plan that covers local business and
                                           recovery from the ‘Delburn’ bushfires.      will work to facilitate and support the
economic issues, building and facilities
                                                                                       implementation of community plans.
requirements, environmental matters,       As part of its work the Boolarra/Yinnar
and the health and wellbeing needs of      Community Recovery Committee has            The Boolarra/Yinnar Community
the community.                             established a mentor program to ensure      Recovery Committee is well placed to
                                           that displaced people remain in touch       support its active community and this is
Latrobe City Council has supported
                                           with the community, and are informed        a great example of the community led
the establishment of three Community
                                           of community events and activities.         recovery that is underway.
Recovery Committees in the


     2009 Victorian bushfires
              Clonbinane, Heathcote Junction, Kilmore                                      Break of Day, Flowerdale, Hazeldene, Hazeldene South
         A    East, Reedy Creek, Strath Creek, Wandong,
                                                                                           Lives lost: 11
              Waterford Park
                                                                                           Properties reported destroyed: 219
              Lives lost: 3                                                                Properties cleaned up: 146
              Properties reported destroyed: 124                                           Community meeting attendance: 100
              Properties cleaned up: 118
              Community meeting attendance: 350
                                                                                           Arthurs Creek, Eagles Nest, Humevale, Kinglake,
                                                                                  C        Kinglake Central, West, South and East, Mittons Bridge,
                                SWAN                                                       Pheasant Creek, St Andrews, Strathewen, Upper Plenty,
              Ouyen              HILL                                                      Whittlesea, Whittlesea/Humevale
                                                                                           Lives lost: 92
                                                      Hill                                 Properties reported destroyed: 718
                                                                                           Properties cleaned up: 277
                                                                                           Community meeting attendance: 1035

     YARRIAMBIACK                                           Kerang

                              BULOKE                                                                             MOIRA
                                                                                             Echuca                                                          Wodonga
                                                                                                      Shepparton                         Wangaratta INDIGO
                                                              LODDON                                             GREATER
                                                                                                                                 BENALLA WANGARATTA J
                                               St Arnaud

             Horsham                NORTHERN                                                                                                                   Bright
                                    GRAMPIANS                         Bendigo                           STRATHBOGIE
         I                                                                      BENDIGO                                                                     ALPINE
                               Stawell          Maryborough
                                                                   Castlemaine MOUNT        G T
                                                            CENTRAL            ER
                                                                                                                         Alexandra    MANSFIELD
                                                                    HEPBURN MACEDON
                                                                                                          BM  MURRINDINDI
     HERN                  ARARAT                           BALLARAT                             WHITTLESEA
     PIANS                                          Ballarat
                                              PYRENEES                MOORABOOL
                                                                                            HUME        C IK
         Hamilton                                                                      MELTON
                                                      GOLDEN                                     Melbourne RANGES
                                                                                                           RAN S
                                                      PLAINS                           WYNDHAM
                              M                                                                                                        BAW
                                         CORANGAMITE                                                                  CARDINIA         BAW
                     MOYNE                                                       Geelong                      CASEY                  Warragul
                                                                                 GREATER                                                              Traralgon  Sale
                                              Camperdown                         GEELONG                                                   o
                                                                      COAST                      MORNINGTON    FRENCH
                                                                                                                                         H      L    BE
                        Warrnambool                                                               PENINSULA
                                                     COLAC                                                BASS
                                                                                                                    BASS             Leongatha        F
                                                     OTWAY                                               COAST     COAST

     * Figures by community are accurate at the time of printing.
     ** Properties cleaned up may include both destroyed and damaged properties.

               Castella, Christmas Hills, Chum Creek, Dixons Creek, Glenburn, Murrindindi,
         D     Steels Creek, Tarrawarra, Toolangi, Yarra Glen, Narre Warren (including fires
               at Lynbrook and Harkaway)
               Lives lost: 13
               Properties reported destroyed: 220
               Properties cleaned up: 102
               Community meeting attendance: 200

               Buxton, Camberville, Granton, Healesville, Marysville, Narbethong, Taggerty
               Lives lost: 40
               Properties reported destroyed: 529
               Properties cleaned up: 141
                Community meeting attendance: 1200

               Allambee South, Baromi, Boolarra, Callignee, Callignee North and South, Churchill, Darlimurla,
         F     Delburn, Devon North, Dollar, Drouin, Drouin West, Gormandale, Hazelwood, Hazelwood North and
               South, Koornalla, Jeeralang, Jeeralang Junction, Labertouche, Longwarry North, Mirboo, Mirboo
               North, Robin Hood, Rokeby, Tarago (Bunyip), Tonimbuk, Traralgon, Traralgon South, Yarram, Yinnar
         H     Lives lost: 11
               Properties reported destroyed: 211
         K     Properties cleaned up: 80
               Community meeting attendance: 1190

                                                                          Barfold, Bendigo West, California Gully, Eaglehawk,
                                                                    G     Iron Bark, Long Gully, Maiden Gully, Redesdale, Sidonia,
                                                                          Specimen Hill, Drummond North, Sailor’s Falls
                                                                     L    Lives lost: 1
                                                                          Properties reported destroyed: 74
                                                                          Properties cleaned up: 72
                                                                           Community meeting attendance: 95

                GIPPSLAND                                                 Drung, Haven (Horsham)
                                                                          Lives lost: 0
                          Orbost                                          Properties reported destroyed: 13
    Bairnsdale Lakes                                                      Properties cleaned up: 24
                                                                          Community meeting attendance: 30

                                                                          Mudgegonga, Rosewhite, Running Creek (Beechworth)
                                                                          Lives lost: 2
0             50            100 Kilometres                                Properties reported destroyed: 24
                                                                          Properties cleaned up: 43
                                                                          Community meeting attendance: 140
      Local Government Areas
      Built Up Areas                                                      Coleraine, Pomborneit, Weerite
      Fire Areas                                                    M
                                                                          Lives lost: 0
      The Great Dividing Range
                                                                          Properties reported destroyed: 1
                                                                          Properties cleaned up: 5
                                                                           Community meeting attendance: 55


     The longer-term reconstruction process will take time and will be
     different for each community. Interim measures are now in place
     to ensure people have the support they need while their homes,
     towns and regions are being rebuilt.

     Clean-up in progress, Marysville May 2009

Clean-up                                      Temporary Housing                             at Kinglake West. Management of the
                                              and Villages                                  villages will be provided by professional
The Authority is committed to ensuring                                                      camp managers. A Village Manager has
that properties and infrastructure in fire    People who lost their home in Victoria’s      been appointed at Flowerdale and others
damaged communities are built quickly         devastating bushfires are being               will be appointed at all sites to ensure
and efficiently.                              offered temporary housing while their         the smooth and efficient operation of
                                              communities are cleaned up and                the villages.
One of the Authority’s first priorities has   rebuilding begins. Some people have
been to clear debris and hazardous            chosen to move away from bushfire             A village code of conduct as well as
material from the thousands of bushfire       affected areas, while others have opted       health and safety plans, and tenancy
affected properties. The clean-up             to move back to their home communities.       management plans are being developed
and demolition operation is being                                                           to secure residents’ wellbeing. Village
jointly funded by the Victorian and           For those wanting to stay in bushfire         Managers will oversee the formation
Commonwealth Governments and is               affected areas, every effort is being         of these plans in consultation with
free, voluntary and open to any person        made to assist them to live in their          residents, local councils, DHS, Victoria
who owns property affected by the             community or as close as is currently         Police, CFA and the Authority. These
recent bushfires.                             viable. To date, DHS has assisted more        plans will be incorporated into a Village
                                              than 1300 households with a range of          Operations Manual, which will be
Grocon has been contracted to deliver         housing options, including:
the clean-up operation and has set                                                          completed for Flowerdale by 30 May and
up ten regional bases across Victoria.                                                      shortly thereafter for other villages.
The process was slow to commence                                                            The temporary villages are expected to
but Grocon has now established                                                              be in place for between six months and
140 clean-up crews working across                                                           two years, subject to need.
the fire affected areas.                        provided                             252
                                                                                            The Victorian Government has been
A key objective has been to maximise                                                        given priority access to its share of the
the use of local contractors for clean-                                                     Commonwealth Government’s Social
up works. On the basis that a non-                                                          Housing Fund, making $1.5 billion
metropolitan contractor located within                                                      available to respond to the social
or close to bushfire affected areas is                                                      housing needs of bushfire affected areas.
considered local, a total of 69 per cent
of the work is being undertaken by local
contractors and just over 50 per cent of                                                    Drinking and Waste Water
                                                (family/friends)                     429
the workforce is local.                                                                     The Authority is working with local water
                                              Temporary villages are being                  authorities to ensure that drinking water
To date, about 3000 bushfire affected
                                              constructed at Marysville, Flowerdale         and waste water services are maintained
properties have been registered with
                                              and Kinglake.                                 while damaged systems are returned
Grocon by phone or via the Authority’s
website, and new registrations continue                                                     to pre-fire operations. The Authority
                                              Each village will cater for up to 40
to be received. Clean-up has been                                                           has worked with Goulburn Valley Water
                                              families and 40 single people, with
completed on over 1000 properties.                                                          to reconnect water and waste water
                                              room for expansion, in a mixture of
                                                                                            services to Marysville.
                                              self-contained one and two bedroom
Completion of the clean-up will be
                                              moveable units and single and double          Many properties in fire impacted areas
progressive across the regions and is
                                              room accommodation. The Authority             are not under the jurisdiction of a water
projected to conclude on site at the end
                                              is working closely with DHS and local         corporation and use rain water tanks as
of September. This timeline is consistent
                                              councils to have the villages completed       their primary water supply. In the wake
with the Government’s original
                                              and largely occupied by 30 June.              of the fires DSE, in conjunction with
commitment to complete the clean-up
within six months of the award of the                                                       the relevant water corporations, has
                                              The site at Flowerdale is currently
contract, and in the case of Kinglake                                                       been providing a free temporary water
                                              70 per cent complete with six
and Marysville, within six months of the                                                    tank, and cleaning and water carting
                                              households in residence. Seven more
Coroner’s Office leaving the area.                                                          service in and around the Kinglake area.
                                              households have been allocated
                                                                                            During the recovery phase, access to
                                              housing and are expected to move in
Grocon contractors are also assisting                                                       free reticulated drinking water has been
                                              shortly. At Kinglake village, work on the
property owners to comply with                                                              provided at nine locations by Gippsland
                                              site began on 5 May and is expected
emergency orders placed by local                                                            Water, Goulburn Valley Water and Yarra
                                              to be ready for occupancy by late May.
councils. Approximately 1000 emergency                                                      Valley Water at temporary standpipes
                                              Marysville village is up and running,
orders have been placed on bushfire                                                         and community water tanks.
                                              accommodating five families so far,
affected properties, requiring the owners
                                              with a further 19 moveable units              Over 950 properties have had their
to make them safe. Grocon contractors
                                              under construction.                           rain water tank cleaned and around
have assisted more than 450 property
owners to comply with these orders.                                                         1100 properties have received one-
                                              Each village will also have temporary
                                                                                            off 5000-litre water carting. Another
                                              shared amenities, including public toilets,
In addition to the Grocon clean-up,                                                         14 drinking catchments are under
                                              shower blocks, laundries and communal
the Authority has been providing                                                            restoration, rehabilitation and recovery,
                                              kitchen facilities for use by village
reimbursement to property owners who                                                        and 16 water treatment facilities that
                                              residents and the local community.
carried out their own clean-up in the                                                       were affected are now operational.
                                              Public facilities will also be available
immediate aftermath of the bushfires.

     Building and                                           Overlay was the only permit trigger,        held several public seminars to assist
     Planning Processes                                     with further changes to the Victoria        people gain an understanding of the key
                                                            Planning Provisions to ensure, in most      elements of the new building standard.
     Adoption of the Australian Standard                    cases, that a planning permit will not be
     AS 3959-2009 for Design and                            required for rebuilding.
     Construction of Buildings in Bushfire
     Prone Areas has been brought forward.                  The planning provision amendment
     The new standard was due to be                         has also removed the need to obtain a
     adopted by all States and Territories                  planning permit in most circumstances
     in May 2010, but became effective in                   to support bushfire recovery operations
     Victoria from 11 March this year.                      where previously a permit may have
                                                            been required for the use and/or
     Under the new standard, sites are                      development due to the zoning or
     assessed as being one of six                           overlay controls relating to the land.
     Bushfire Attack Levels from low to
     extreme risk, with specific building                   The Building Commission, Plumbing
     measures applying to the higher                        Industry Commission and DPCD with
     risk areas. A streamlined planning                     MAV have developed and distributed
     process was also applied at that                       a series of guides and advice notes to
     time for rebuilding bushfire affected                  help fire affected communities rebuild.
     homes, where a Wildfire Management                     The Building Commission has also

     Whittlesea Yea Road, Humevale (Photo provided courtesy of Richard Paton)

         Case study
         Reconstruction and a return to some                  The temporary school provides             The local community will also play
         semblance of ‘normality’ for bushfire                six portable classrooms, toilets,         an integral role in the planning,
         affected communities has been a                      a library and an administration           scope and shape of the new school.
         major objective of the Authority                     area. Playground equipment has
         since its inception following the                    also been installed at the temporary
         February bushfires.                                  school site.

         Kinglake embodies the spirit of                      The provision of a temporary
         reconstruction with Middle Kinglake                  schooling option as close to home
         Primary School students moving into                  as possible and in familiar
         a temporary school next to their old                 surroundings is a great outcome
         school site on 30 March.                             for traumatised students.


Local economies
Many small to medium businesses were destroyed or directly
damaged in the bushfires and many others are struggling to
survive. Rebuilding local economies is crucial to rebuilding
local communities.

Business Relief                             Relief Fund to support small businesses           Tourism and Business
                                            indirectly affected by the fires. The             Regeneration
Thousands of businesses were directly       Victorian Government is contributing
damaged or destroyed by the fires.          $500,000 to the fund, which will give             Although the full extent of the direct
To help them recover, a number of           priority to businesses that employed fewer        and indirect impact on tourism and
initiatives have been put in place,         than 20 staff that had little or no alternative   business is still being assessed,
including a $51 million Victorian and       sources of income following the bushfires.        it is clear that businesses in fire
Commonwealth Government business                                                              affected regions have suffered from
support package.                            The Victorian and Commonwealth                    cancellations and a drop in visitor
                                            Governments are funding around                    numbers. Many municipalities are
This support package includes a             100 professional advisors from VECCI              conducting their own surveys and
one-off grant of $5000 for clean-up         and the Small Business Mentoring                  reviews on the impact on business
and immediate restoration costs             Service to provide free professional              in their area. The results of these
(Tier 1), with additional funds available   advice and counselling services to assist         assessments will inform longer-term
up to a maximum of $25,000 (Tier 2)         small businesses and farmers make                 business development initiatives,
for eligible small businesses or            informed decisions about their futures.           to supplement those strategies
primary producers.
                                                                                              already announced.
To date:                                    Insurance Claims                                  Regional tourism campaigns were
                                            Data from the Insurance Council of                suspended from 7 February to 13 March
  with a value of $5.4 million              Australia identified approximately                out of respect to those who had lost their
                                            10,020 general insurance claims                   homes, businesses and lives. Businesses
                                            that have been received to date                   and communities are now working with
  with a value of $3.1 million                                                                all levels of government to rebuild their
                                            from Insurance Council members for
                                            residential, commercial, industrial and           local economies and regions.
  have been received by Business            farming losses. These total an estimated
                                                                                              Tourism generates more than $1.6
  Victoria and Rural Finance Victoria.      insurable loss of $1.2 billion. Of these,
                                                                                              billion annually in bushfire affected
                                            16 per cent have been motor vehicle
Under a concessional interest rate                                                            areas such as Victoria’s High Country,
                                            claims and 84 per cent property or
loans scheme, fire affected businesses                                                        Gippsland, Yarra Valley and Dandenong
                                            contents claims.
can also borrow up to $200,000 at                                                             Ranges. A $10 million Victorian Bushfire
3.2 per cent interest over five years       In addition:                                      Tourism Industry Support Package has
through the Victorian Government’s                                                            been jointly funded by the Victorian
Rural Finance Corporation.                                                                    and Commonwealth Governments
                                              made approximately $457 million                 to support businesses economically
A $5000 special circumstances                 in emergency payments and cash                  affected by the bushfires. This
relief grant is also available for small      settlements to affected policy-holders          package has been developed in close
businesses and primary producers who                                                          consultation with Tourism Victoria, Parks
earn less than $100,000 a year from           residential properties and 99 per cent          Victoria and tourism operators. The
other sources and have not already            of claims for damaged commercial                package is being rolled out from March
received business assistance.                 properties have been completed.                 2009 to June 2011 and will provide
                                                                                              $6 million towards marketing, $2 million
The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of
                                                                                              for visitor facilities and $1 million to
Commerce and Industry (VECCI) has
                                                                                              bring forward cancelled events.
established a Business Emergency

     A Victorian Bushfire Tourism Response       51 per cent of their income from their         equivalent of 36,500 volunteer hours on
     and Recovery Committee has been             property can access a Clean-up and             clean-up and repairs to 1511 kilometres
     established with representatives from       Restoration Grant from the Victorian           of boundary fences on 798 properties.
     each of the bushfire affected regions,      and Commonwealth Governments.
     Tourism Alliance Victoria, Parks Victoria                                                  It is estimated that, of the 5087
                                                 Eligible farmers can apply for an initial
     and Victorian Government departments.                                                      kilometres of boundary fencing
                                                 grant of up to $5000 for immediate
     This Committee is overseeing the                                                           recorded as damaged, 2513 kilometres
                                                 clean-up and/or stock welfare. A further
     Victorian Bushfire Tourism Industry                                                        have been rebuilt and a further 1266
                                                 grant of up to $20,000 is available
     Support Package and has approved                                                           kilometres have been cleared prior
                                                 following a more detailed assessment.
     $860,000 for marketing projects and                                                        to reconstruction.
                                                 A one-off special circumstances relief
     $207,000 for new event projects             grant of $5000 is available to assist
     between March and June 2009.                farmers and small businesses that have
                                                 otherwise missed out on a business
     Local councils and community
                                                 recovery grant where they do not earn
     organisations in fire affected regions
                                                 51 per cent of their income from
     can also access grants of up to $3000,
                                                 their property.
     through the Bushfire Community Events
     Program to host community events            Private landowners can also access
     and activities.                             recovery advice through DPI’s
                                                 Agricultural Referral Network. Up to ten
     In addition, a $70,000 Open for
                                                 Agricultural Referral Officers are available
     Business corporate campaign has been
                                                 to assist with issues including pasture
     established to encourage businesses
                                                 re-establishment and management,
     and government agencies to hold
                                                 weed and pest animal management,
     conferences, seminars and business
                                                 whole farm planning, feed planning,
     events in fire affected regions. The
                                                 water quality supplies for farm dams, soil
     Victorian Government is working
                                                 conservation and erosion control, stock
     with Business Events Victoria and
                                                 containment and animal health issues.
     Tourism Alliance Victoria to encourage
                                                 DPI has also produced a Recovery After
     conference business in bushfire
                                                 Fire booklet and fact sheets to help
     affected areas such as the Yarra Valley,
                                                 planning for recovery.
     Dandenong Ranges, Gippsland,
     High Country, Daylesford and the
     Macedon Ranges.                             Fencing
                                                 Many landowners have started or
     Farming Support and Advice                  completed repairs to boundary fences
                                                 to contain livestock on their properties.
     The February bushfires caused               DSE and CFA fire fighting crews are
     significant damage to farming               active in repairing fences damaged
     operations, private property, crops         during the fire fighting operation.
     and livestock.                              Fencing contractors, neighbours
     The Department of Primary Industries        and service clubs have since proved
     (DPI) mobilised teams to bushfire           invaluable in repairing fences on fire
     affected areas to assist with managing      affected properties.
     the welfare of farm livestock and to        The Victorian Government will
     conduct fire damage assessments on          reimburse reasonable insurance
     rural properties. To date, over 4800        excess to a maximum of $400 on all
     properties across a damaged area of         insured Crown land forest and park
     102,113 hectares have been assessed.        boundary fences destroyed or damaged
     DPI established an agreement with the       by bushfires (or fire suppression
     Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF)          backburns) regardless of the tenure
     to provide emergency fodder to fire         of the land where the fire originated.
     affected land owners. The Victorian         Under an agreement with the Victorian
     Government committed $500,000 to            Government, the VFF has also activated
     fund the cost of transport of donated       its network of members, volunteers
     fodder. The VFF then coordinated the        and staff across Victoria to help restore
     collection of 10,500 tonnes of donated      boundary fences. DPI fencing support
     fodder, to ensure that livestock were fed   officers are working with the VFF, other
     in the immediate post-fire period.          agencies and volunteer groups to
     There are grants available through          monitor progress towards boundary
     the Rural Finance Corporation to            fence reconstruction and assist with
     assist farmers and small businesses         works program planning. There are
     affected by the bushfires. Primary          13 VFF fencing coordinators working
     producers who suffered damage as a          across fire affected regions. To date
     result of the fires and who earn over       over 5000 volunteers have worked the

Wineries and businesses in the Yarra Valley (pre-fires)

    Case study
    The town of Healesville has been                     Available free for visitors to the   The guide is a positive step towards
    proactive in encouraging tourism                     Yarra Valley, the guide promotes     strong and sustainable recovery after
    back to the area in the wake of                      the diverse range of businesses in   the bushfires. It is an excellent example
    the bushfires.                                       Healesville at a time when tourist   of efforts to encourage visitors back to
                                                         expenditure is sorely needed in      bushfire affected regions.
    The Healesville Chamber of
                                                         the area.
    Commerce and Industry is
    producing a ‘Shoppers Guide for                      A total of 10,000 guides are to be
    Healesville’, with funding support                   printed locally by Breen Printing
    from Healesville’s White Rabbit                      and distributed to shops,
    Brewery and its sister site, Little                  accommodation and tourist
    Creatures Dining Hall in Fitzroy.                    information centres.


     The bushfires had a major impact on Victoria’s forests and
     national parks, native animals and plants, and waterways
     and catchments. Rehabilitating and regenerating our natural
     environment is critical to helping communities recover.

     Young deer, Kinglake region (Photo provided courtesy of Keith Pakenham, CFA Corporate Affairs)

Forests, Parks and Reserves                                                                 The Victorian Government has made
                                                Ash seeds by helicopter to replace          $350,000 available for grants to the
Almost 280,000 hectares of public land          populations lost near Marysville,           363 registered animal foster carers
were affected including 70 national             Kinglake and Alexandra                      and 340 licensed wildlife shelters.
parks and reserves. The total fire                                                          The payments and grants, ranging from
affected area within parks and reserves                                                     $300 to $2000, are for veterinarians,
was approximately 100,000 hectares.             control programs, with a particular         wildlife shelters, registered foster carers
                                                focus on protecting the New Holland         and licensed wildlife rehabilitators to
The 180,000 hectares of state forest            Mouse at Wilsons Promontory
that was affected included significant                                                      replace shelters and buy equipment
                                                National Park, the Brush-tailed             and supplies.
commercial and recreational forest areas.       Phascogale in Kinglake National Park
These parks and forests provide important       and the Southern Brown Bandicoot in         The Healesville Sanctuary’s Australian
catchment services, and catchment yield         Bunyip State Park                           Wildlife Health Centre received a
and quality will be affected for some time.                                                 $60,000 grant to support wildlife welfare
The fires are estimated to have affected                                                    and rehabilitation efforts directly related
more than 200 historic places on public         to safe refuges                             to the devastating fires.
and private land. Work is underway to
assess the damage.
                                                protect the endangered Shiny                Waterways and Catchments
More than 200 places of recorded                Nematolepis plant in the Yarra Ranges
Indigenous heritage have been affected.         National Park from grazing.                 More than 820 kilometres of streams,
New sites are still being identified.                                                       rivers and creeks in two Melbourne
                                              Further flora and fauna survey work is        Water regions were affected by bushfire
The Parks Victoria office at Kinglake was     ongoing to ensure accurate knowledge          to some degree. The most severe
destroyed. A temporary office has been        of what has been affected.                    impacts were seen in the Yarra Ranges,
set up at the Wallaby Creek, Melbourne                                                      Baw Baw, Nillumbik, Mitchell, Cardinia
Water depot in Kinglake West. The DSE         Rehabilitation                                and Whittlesea areas.
office at Marysville was extensively
damaged, with the fire fighting               Fire suppression activities, including        Melbourne Water is closely monitoring
equipment and works depot destroyed.          the construction of control lines on          the impacts of bushfire on waterways
A temporary office has been set up in         Crown land, resulted in the need for          and taking action to hasten the recovery
Alexandra for the Marysville staff. Repairs   rehabilitation works following the fires.     process, including increased monitoring
to the Marysville office are underway.        This is now 65 per cent complete.             of water quality, weed suppression
                                                                                            along riverbanks and encouraging
The Commonwealth Government is                The initial focus of DSE and Parks            natural regeneration of native species.
providing funding as part of its ‘Caring      Victoria has been on private land
for our Country’ program, through             rehabilitation and where public land          Sites in fire affected areas are being
grants to catchment authorities,              adjoins private properties. Around 1800       surveyed for platypuses and fish to
community groups and individual               kilometres of fire control lines on private   determine the impact and threat to
landholders for environmental and             land are due for completion by 30 June.       known populations.
landscape repair work.                        Three burned-area emergency response          About one-third of Melbourne’s water
                                              teams from the United States have             supply catchments experienced some
Native Biodiversity                           completed an initial rapid impact             level of bushfire damage, but there
                                              assessment, including an Emergency            was no impact on drinking water
Bushfire affected areas covered                                                             quality. The two biggest water supply
                                              Stabilisation and Rehabilitation Plan
the habitats of over 40 species of                                                          catchments, the Upper Yarra and
                                              for each of the major fires. The plans
endangered animals in Victoria.                                                             Thomson dams, were successfully
                                              include emergency rehabilitation actions
Significant threats to native flora and       that will feed into the long-term recovery    protected. Damage to water supply
fauna following the fires include ash         planning and actions.                         infrastructure was limited to minor
pollution and sedimentation in streams,                                                     components and a prioritised works
                                              DSE and VicForests are also working           program is now in place. Repairing the
increased exposure to predators in
                                              to ensure salvage timber from fire            Wallaby Creek weir and aqueduct has
damaged habitats, water loss in
                                              affected state forest areas is harvested      a high priority.
sub-alpine areas, weed invasion and
                                              as soon as possible and to ensure the
loss of shelter and food sources.                                                           Melbourne Water is working closely with
                                              timber industry, which supports many
Affected species include the                  of the fire affected towns, gets back to      the Catchment Management Authorities
Leadbeater’s Possum, Brush-tailed             business as soon as possible. DSE will        who have been undertaking emergency
Phascogale, Greater and Yellow-bellied        work with local councils to make timber       sediment control works, both within
Gliders, the Helmeted Honeyeater,             available to residents for firewood and       the bushfire affected catchment areas
Barred Galaxias fish and the Shiny            fence posts.                                  and more widely, to ensure protection
Nematolepis. Mountain Ash and                                                               of waterways and reduce the impact of
Alpine Ash forest stands were severely                                                      run-off erosion.
                                              Support for Wildlife Carers
impacted. Old-growth ash forests such
as Wallaby Creek were severely burnt.         The tireless efforts of wildlife carers,
                                              who provided emergency assistance
Urgent ecological recovery work               to animals affected by the fires, was
targeted at protecting threatened             greatly valued.
species at risk includes:

     Parks that were closed during the February fires but are now open include:

     Eastern Victoria
     Wilsons Promontory, Alpine National Park, Mount Buffalo National Park, Beechworth Historic Park, Holey Plains
     State Park, Tarra Bulga National Park, Moodarra State Park, Tyers Park and Mount Worth State Park.

     Central Victoria
     Kurth Kiln Regional Park, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Arthurs Seat State Park, Mornington Peninsula
     National Park, Yan Yean Reservoir Park, Plenty Gorge Park, Warrandyte State Park, Upper Yarra Reservoir Park,
     Silvan Reservoir Park and Dandenong Ranges Gardens.

     Western Victoria
     Tower Hill State Game Reserve.

     Affected parks and reserves
     Affected parks and reserves include:

       29,412 hectares                                   22,110 hectares                    3203 hectares
       (38 per cent of park)                             (96 per cent of park)              (92 per cent of park)

       24,839 hectares                                   7651 hectares                      2617 hectares
                                                         (46 per cent of park)              (95 per cent of park).

     Within the parks, the fires destroyed or damaged:

                                                          tracks                            car parks, toilet blocks, camp
                                                                                            grounds and visitor buildings.

     Case study
     Leadbeater’s Possums at Lake                 and additional nestboxes installed in     stations over winter. Supplementary
     Mountain in the Yarra Ranges National        places with remnant green vegetation,     feeding like this is only used under
     Park suffered in the bushfires. Only         or where Leadbeater’s Possum              strict scientific supervision where it
     six possums out of an estimated pre-         survival was possible. Creamed            will support a critically endangered
     bushfire population of 300 have been         honey was smeared around the small        population. In this case the proposed
     sighted since the fires.                     entry holes on the nestboxes to attract   menu of mealworms, fly pupae and
                                                  any other homeless survivors, and         a Leadbeater’s Possum nectar mix is
     Of the 30 possum boxes at Lake
                                                  a total of 37 new possum nesting          being made by Healesville Sanctuary.
     Mountain, 28 of which were being
                                                  boxes were erected across the Lake
     used, 22 were destroyed and six                                                        Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum
                                                  Mountain plateau.
     were badly damaged.                                                                    and the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort are
                                                  The survivors are now the key to re-      providing volunteers to Parks Victoria to
     As part of Parks Victoria’s immediate
                                                  colonising the plateau and a recovery     assist with the feeding program.
     fire recovery efforts for the species, all
                                                  program has been organised with
     damaged nestboxes were replaced
                                                  a trial of supplementary feeding


Burnt forest, Kinglake Ranges, March 2009

     Grants and assistance
     The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have provided
     a range of emergency relief and recovery measures following
     the bushfires. A key component of this has been the provision
     of financial and non-financial assistance to individuals, families
     and communities.

     Numerous grants have been, and              1. Immediate
     will continue to be, issued by the             – emergency relief and support          providing $5000 for Funeral/Memorial
     Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund which                                                   Assistance to one immediate family
                                                 2. Short-term
     was established on 8 February by the                                                   member of individuals who died in the
                                                    – sustaining temporary arrangements
     Victorian Government in partnership                                                    fires. To date 109 people have been
     with the Commonwealth Government            3. Medium-term                             assisted, totalling $765,000
     and Australian Red Cross. The Victorian        – rebuilding homes, lives and
     and Commonwealth Governments each                communities
                                                                                            the funeral costs of bushfire affected
     contributed $2 million to this fund.
                                                 4. Long-term                               families, with the payment of funeral
     A separate report being released by            – assisting with the enduring impact    expenses up to $10,000, administered
     the Appeal Fund details allocations              of the fires.                         by the Transport Accident Commission
     and disbursements from the Fund,            Examples of the grants issued to
     so generously donated. As of 13 May,        date include:                              is offering an Income Recovery
     over $346 million has been received
                                                                                            Subsidy to provide temporary income
     and over $240 million has been
                                                 Immediate                                  support to employees, small business
     allocated and made available to
                                                 – emergency relief and support             operators and farmers who have
     bushfire survivors.
                                                                                            lost income as a direct result of the
     In addition, the Victorian and                                                         bushfires. To date 3400 people had
     Commonwealth Governments have                Recovery Payment provides                 been assisted, totalling $6.6 million.
     jointly funded a $10 million Community       immediate financial assistance in the
     Recovery Fund. This fund will assist         form of a one-off payment of $1000
                                                  per adult and $400 per child. To date    Short-Term
     with longer-term recovery through
     community development and capacity           the Commonwealth Government had          – sustaining temporary
     building. $3 million from the fund           paid more than 50,000 claims totalling     arrangements
     has been set aside for grants, of up         $58.7 million
     to $100,000 each, for sports clubs in                                                  the Victorian and Commonwealth
     bushfire affected areas for rebuilding                                                 Governments provide up to $8650 to
                                                  Payment, jointly funded by the
     and reparation works. $2.5 million                                                     assist with the replacement or repair
                                                  Victorian and Commonwealth
     from the fund has been set aside for                                                   of essential household contents
                                                  Governments, consists of up to $1067
     memorials. $1.75 million has been
                                                  per household to assist households to
     allocated for Community Development
                                                  meet their immediate needs                Government package of support
     Officers, with another $1.75 million for
     community grants and $1 million for                                                    for aged care providers and clients
     community projects.                          of up to $8650 from the Victorian and     consists of payments of up to $10,000
                                                  Commonwealth Governments have             to assist frail, older people and their
     Financial assistance through grants                                                    carers replace uninsured independent
                                                  been provided to assist with the cost
     and payments is available to individuals,                                              living aids lost in the fires
                                                  of temporary accommodation and
     families, communities, local councils
                                                  living expenses
     and businesses, and is provided to
     help address all the dimensions of                                                     Payment through the Appeal Fund has
     recovery. Grants are provided to             in Compassion and Bereavement             seen families who lost their principal
     assist people through the four key           Payments from the Appeal Fund,            place of residence or were unable to
     recovery phases:                             with immediate support of $10,000 to      return home for a week or more eligible
25                                                those families who lost loved ones        to receive an average of $10,000

  Immediate support
  In the immediate aftermath of the fires,
  the Victorian and Commonwealth                people who lost their homes until         Newstart for those job seekers who
  Governments put in place extensive            1 October 2009                            volunteered to help with the bushfire
  measures to support fire affected                                                       clean-up and recovery efforts or who
  communities, including:                       marriage certificates in the fires to     live in locations where job opportunities
                                                obtain new certificates at no cost        were affected
    1800 number to provide a telephone
    counselling support service for             providing $6 million to emergency         cancel registrations and issuing
    all Victorians affected by the              relief organisations to assist service    on-the-spot cash refunds, extending
    devastating bushfires                       providers meet the increased demands      vehicle registration renewals by 28
                                                for emergency relief                      days and replacing learner log books
    people deal with the psychological and                                                and registration plates
    emotional impact of the fires, including    documents, updating contact details
    boosting funding for Commonwealth           and replacing passports at no cost        fires access to at least 10 hours of free
    funded providers of such services                                                     kindergarten per week, by extending
                                                                                          the current kindergarten fee subsidy of
                                                $1050 of stamp duty on a vehicle and
    via 1800 helpline and making lawyers                                                  $751 to children affected by the fires.
                                                $21,970 on new homes
    available at operational Relief Centres

 allocated $500,000 for Community               $50,000 Arts Recovery Quick Response
 Building Initiative projects and other         Grants program and will provide funds
 locally based organisations in fire            of up to $2500 for local artists to
 affected areas are eligible for grants         work in their communities on arts
 of up to $30,000 to employ bushfire            recovery projects
 community recovery officers
                                                offering $420,000 of funding to
 provided $6 million to emergency               help organisations coordinating
 relief organisations to assist service         the thousands of volunteers who
 providers meet the increased                   offered support to bushfire
 demands for emergency relief and               affected communities
 to link clients with other community
 support services.
                                                the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
                                                established a $4 million Bushfire
Medium-Term                                     Recovery Community Infrastructure
– rebuilding homes, lives                       Program to help rebuild community
  and communities                               infrastructure and provide jobs in
                                                bushfire affected communities.

 Infrastructure Grants Payment has
 been brought forward from May 2009            Long-Term
 to February 2009 for all Victorian            – assisting with the enduring
 local councils, in recognition of the           impact of the fires
 difficulties they face. The total amount
 for Victoria is $111 million
                                                Bushfire Recovery Community
                                                Infrastructure Program will provide
 to the Appeal Fund will be distributed         grants of up to $300,000 to regional,
 to those whose houses were                     rural and interface councils for vital
 destroyed or partially destroyed in            community infrastructure projects
 the bushfires
                                                bushfires will receive up to $100,000
 grant ‘Rural Properties Recovery               from the Appeal Fund to assist with
 Assistance Payment’ of $5000                   their transition from hospital to home.
 to owners of small private farms
 impacted by the fires to assist in
 repair and restoration projects on
 properties, including fencing,
 sheds, water tanks, troughs, or
 hiring contractors to assist with
 on-farm repairs


     Next steps and goals for the bushfire reconstruction and recovery

       by local communities

       case manager

       local communities

       to be completed by late 2009

      of September

       their particular needs

       affected regions

       and feed planning, water quality supplies for farm dams, soil conservation and erosion control, and
       animal health issues is provided

       is completed by mid 2009

       those in need.

     Abbreviations and acronyms
     ADF             Australian Defence Force                   DPI             Department of Primary Industries (Victoria)
                                                                DSE             Department of Sustainability and
     AFP             Australian Federal Police (Commonwealth)                   Environment (Victoria)
     Appeal Fund     Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund             MFB             Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Victoria)
     CFA             Country Fire Authority (Victoria)          MAV             Municipal Association of Victoria
     DEECD           Department of Education and Early          SES             State Emergency Service (Victoria)
                     Childhood Development (Victoria)
                                                                The Authority   Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction
     DHS             Department of Human Services (Victoria)                    and Recovery Authority
     DIIRD           Department of Innovation, Industry and     VECCI           Victorian Employers’ Chamber of
                     Regional Development (Victoria)                            Commerce and Industry
     DPCD            Department of Planning and Community       VFF             Victorian Farmers Federation
                     Development (Victoria)


Important contacts for people affected by the bushfires

Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and         Centrelink (Commonwealth)              Municipal Association of Victoria
Recovery Authority                              Ph: 180 2211                           Ph: (03) 9667 5555
Ph: 1800 240 667
                                              Agencies                               Plumbing Industry Commission
Victorian Bushfire Appeal Funds                                                         Country Fire Authority                 Ph: 1800 015 129
Ph: 1800 180 213                    
                                              Ph: 1800 240 667                       Victorian Law Foundation
2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission                                           Metlink                                Ph: (03) 9604 8100
Ph: 1800 243 650                    
                                              Ph: 13 16 38                           Personal Assistance
Government Departments                        Metropolitan Fire and Emergency        Australian Red Cross
Prime Minister of Australia                   Services Board                                            Ph: (03) 8327 7700
Ph: (02) 6277 7700                            Ph: (03) 9662 2311
                                                                                     Kids Helpline
Premier of Victoria                           Office of the Emergency Services                 Commissioner                           Ph: 1800 551 800
Ph: (03) 9651 5000                  
                                              Ph: (03) 8684 7900                     Lifeline
Department of Education and Early                                          
Childhood Development (Victoria)              State Coroner’s Office                 Ph: 13 11 14     
                                              Ph: 1300 309 519                       Nurse-on-Call Bushfire Health and
Ph: (03) 9637 2000
                                                                                     Counselling Line
Department of Families, Housing,              State Revenue Office         
Community Services and Indigenous                 Ph: 1300 60 60 24
Affairs (Commonwealth)                        Ph: 13 21 61
http://www.fahcsia                     Tourism Victoria                           Ph: 13 22 89
Ph: 1300 653 227                              Ph: (03) 9653 9777
                                                                                     Salvation Army
Department of Human Services (Victoria)       Victoria Police                                    Ph: 13 72 58
Ph: 1300 650 172 or (03) 9096 0000            Ph: (03) 9247 6666
Department of Planning and Community          VicRoads
Development (Victoria)                                 Ph: 13 11 71
Ph: (03) 9208 3333
                                              Useful Contacts
Department of Primary Industries (Victoria)                     Building Commission
Ph: 136 186                         
Department of Sustainability and              Ph: 1300 557 559 or (03) 9285 6400
Environment (Victoria)                        Insurance Council of Australia           
Ph: 136 186                                   Ph: 1300 728 228

    Communication channels
    The Authority established a number of communication channels to keep fire affected communities
    up-to-date with the relief, recovery and rebuilding process, including:

         received to date

         announcements. A standard SMS charge applied to the initial SMS registration

         in addition to those circulated by fire affected local councils).



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