Storm Recovery

Published on 12 October 2021

 

Relief payments, hardship assistance and financial support

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) 

Macedon Ranges Shire has been added to the list of Local Government Areas impacted by the 9 June storm who can access Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP).

AGDRP provides one-off financial assistance to eligible Australians adversely affected by the storms and floods. Eligible residents can apply for the one-off, non-means tested payment of $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child.

AGDRP is available for people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, whose major assets have been directly damaged or are the immediate family members of a person who has died as a direct result of the storms and floods.

Residents have until 31 May 2022 to apply at www.disasterassist.gov.au or by phoning 180 22 66.

Financial counselling

Speaking to a financial counsellor early can help stabilise your finances, reduce stress and allow you to focus on other areas of recovery. The Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline is a single state-wide number Victorians impacted by the June 2021 storms and floods can call for assistance including financial counselling. The Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline will be available until June 2022.
The hotline can connect you to a financial counsellor to help you to:
  • access relief for utility bills and other payments
  • understand your government income and other entitlements
  • negotiate with your bank on debt issues
  • identify if your insurance outcome is fair and appropriate
  • explore your options and advocate on your behalf.

Call the Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). 

Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) residential storm and flood clean-up program

As of 31 October, the Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) residential storm and flood clean-up program has closed to new registrations. Crews will still be working hard to attend the remaining clean-up jobs that are underway or waiting for works to begin.

Council crews will continue its large-scale storm response and recovery operation across the shire, in partnership with BRV, focusing on requests to clear trees posing a threat to lives or property.

We will also be assessing and registering Council’s own assets, reserves and damaged fire tracks across the shire for BRV support.

Hardship assistance and financial support

Contact the Department Families, Fairness and Housing on 1300 475 170 or email EmergencyHardshipPayments@dffh.vic.gov.au

Storm Recovery for business

Was your business impacted by the recent storm event? There is free support available.

Find out what you can access from Agriculture Victoria, the Small Business Mentoring Service or the Rural Financial Counselling Service here(PDF, 412KB).

For further advice on business or personal support you can access, contact Council’s economic development team at ecodevadmin@mrsc.vic.gov.au.

Cleaning up trees on your property

Who can help me clear trees on my private property?

  • Insurance
  • Private contractors
  • If you do not have access to insurance or financial means to engage a private contractor and think there is a dangerous tree on your property that needs someone to look at, please call our Recovery Operations Centre on (03) 5422 0237 and staff can assist with the options available to you.

Can you give me any contractor recommendations? 

Council cannot advise on which contractors people should engage on their private land.

To find a local contractor, you can search for terms such as ‘Arborist’ or ‘Tree removal’ in the Yellow Pages or White Pages phone directories. Asking for recommendations from neighbours, local friends and family, or online community groups can also be a way to find contractors.

When engaging anyone to work on your land, residents are encouraged to conduct due diligence by checking they are insured and follow safety standards, such as the use of appropriate protection equipment. 

Be cautious of potentially fraudulent operators seeking half-fee up-front cash payments.

Free storm firewood

Registering for free firewood

We are currently working through the registrations from people who registered for firewood in Round 1 earlier this year, and are not yet taking new registrations. When we open up registrations for the next round we will notify the community through our website, social media and a media release.

Residents who registered in Round 1 were sent an SMS text on 7 December 2021* with a link to book their collection time at one of the 3-day weekends in either December 2021 or January 2022. We are are in the process of contacting those who did not provide a mobile number at time of registration. 

We know people are keen to collect their 2m3 of storm firewood but be aware it is unsuitable for burning and needs to dry out for at least 12 months before it can be used. We are currently only able to offer one collection per registered household.

*Some residents were sent the SMS as part of the trial on 23 November 2021. 

Update to Woodend collection point

We have updated the firewood collection location for Woodend. You will now be collecting from a designated firewood collection site at the corner of Clancy's Lane and Old Lancefield Road, Woodend, rather than from the Transfer Station. Your booking time and date remains the same.

This new site at Clancy's Lane will ensure there is enough firewood ready for all who are scheduled to collect. 

New address: corner Clancy's Lane and, Old Lancefield Rd, Woodend North VIC 3442. Collection access is via Clancy’s Lane only, please avoid travelling on Old Lancefield Road. 

Google maps link to new location: https://goo.gl/maps/iNSgaejhoTACHKqr5

Printable map Woodend-firewood-collection-site.docx(DOCX, 3MB) / Woodend-firewood-collection-instructions.pdf(PDF, 613KB)

Please arrive at your booking time. All other terms and conditions remain the same. 

Booking your collection for those who registered earlier this year

Using the link provided to you in the SMS, please book one collection time only as we are currently only able to offer one collection per registered household. You will then receive an email ticket confirming your booking time and further instructions. You will be required to show this ticket to collect your allocation of firewood, printed or on a device will be acceptable.

Transfer station attendants are provided with a checklist of names of people who can collect firewood on any given day.

Collection:

  • Council has secured machine-loaders for safer and more efficient loading. Self-loading is not available.
  • You are required to remain in your vehicle at all times while our team loads your trailer.
  • There will be a provision of space away from machinery to adjust/secure your load before you leave the Transfer Station site.
  • We recommend wearing closed toe shoes/boots and gloves when adjusting/securing wood loads in your trailer.
  • Our team reserves the right to refuse to fill unsafe trailers/vehicles.
  • You are required to comply with all directions of our team at all times and failure to do so may result in you being asked to leave.
  • You are expected to take reasonable care of your own and others safety during the collection of wood.
  • You are required to check in using the QR code on-site and follow Covid-19 safe practices.

Load limits and vehicle/trailer requirements:

  • Your booking is for one trailer load of wood only. This one trailer limit includes a maximum of up to 2m3 per registered household.
  • Transfer staff have the right to determine vehicle/trailer suitability. Council reserves the right to determine max capacity of your trailer, factoring in safety considerations.
  • Tub style utes are not able to collect wood due to loading machinery requirements.
  • Cage trailers are acceptable
  • Commercial or large tipper trucks will not be allowed to collect wood.
  • You are responsible for your vehicle and trailer while on-site and when you leave the transfer station.
  • Council is not liable for damages to property during the operation.
  • Council will follow safe procedures for loading the firewood but will not engage in manual handling.

Quality of wood

  • The quality of the firewood processed from the storms is not consistent. The wood is a mix of different species and grades.
  • Firewood salvaged after recent storms is not ready for burning and will need to ‘dry’ for at least 12 months before it is suitable for use.
  • You are not be able to ‘order’ a certain type or size of wood. Whatever is available on the day is what will be distributed.

Transfer stations, waste collection and FOGO

Transfer stations and waste collection

All transfer stations have reopened. Check our website for opening times or ring our customer service desk (03) 5422 0333. Normal bin services to resume with additional service to affected areas being planned with more information to come.

FOGO

Put food waste in your FOGO bin first and then top up with green waste.

Six-months on - storm recovery session with Dr Rob Gordon

Join clinical psychologist and disaster recovery expert Dr Rob Gordon for a lunchtime webinar reflecting on the six months since the June storm, and the reactions you may still be experiencing. As part of the session, Sunbury Cobaw Community Health will also share local resources and support available. 

The webinar will run from 1pm to 2.30 pm on Thursday 2 December. Register your attendance here

Dr Gordon is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the field of disaster recovery since Ash Wednesday in 1983. He is a consultant to Red Cross and the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. Dr Gordon has worked with people and communities after Black Saturday and Black Summer, the Christchurch Earthquake, as well as numerous floods, fires, cyclones and other events throughout Australia and New Zealand.

December marks six months from the June storm that caused widespread damage, and it’s normal to still feel be feeling its effects. Dr Gordon will unpack some of the typical reactions to expect after such an event, and share advice on how to make sure you and your family establish a successful recovery process.

The session will be recorded and shared after the webinar.

Council thanks the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) for funding this webinar, and and Sunbury Cobaw Community Health for their participation.  

Roadside wood collection

An increase in roadside collection of timber is causing traffic hazards in storm-affected areas. Council and Regional Roads Victoria do not give permission for the removal of mulch, timber or other materials from roadsides.

Council crews continue their large-scale storm response and recovery operation across the shire, focusing on those requests to clear that are posing a threat to lives or property.

Trees and branches/limbs that have fallen in the storm or are a risk to our community will be cleared from nature strips and road reserves as quickly as possible, but this could take weeks into months in some areas. Officers are identifying sensitive conservation areas whilst gradually reducing the fire hazard.

Residents are urged to drive safely and to current conditions on local roads. Please slow down in the vicinity of roadside tree clearing works and take care when near heavy vehicles and crews.

Fence repairs

My fences have been damaged by falling trees. Will Council pay for their repair?

Macedon Ranges Shire is the home of many thousands of trees and they provide one of the great features of living in our community. The Macedon Ranges environment is enhanced by its tree-lined streets and avenues that form an integral part of the Shire’s appeal.

To manage the large number and diverse range of trees, Council has a Tree Management Policy to maintain best-practice tree management and maintenance standards. Council conducts audits of Council owned trees periodically in order to identify dead, dying or overextended branches or the presence of signs of structural defect.

Council endeavours to limit potential damage to property from fallen Council owned trees or branches through regular tree audits and prompt response to notification of potential hazards. It should be remembered that in certain weather conditions even strong and healthy trees or branches can fall causing damage.

Council is unable to reimburse costs associated with damage from falling trees and branches unless there is a clear case of negligence on behalf of Council through failure to adhere to the requirements of its Tree Management Policy. It is a good practice to call your own insurer (house/car/property) as this may be quickest path to get the costs of repairs paid. If Council is liable for the damage, your insurer will recover from Council’s insurance.

If you believe you have a claim for damages against Council, your claim will be forwarded to the Risk Unit for assessment and determination.

My fences have been damaged by a contractor cleaning up trees. Will Council pay for their repair?

During normal operations, damage caused by a contractor is the responsibility of that contractor. Council retains a level of responsibility for services carried out by contractors on its behalf. During clean-up operations, Councils Complaints Policy requires complaints about contractors to be made through Council’s Customer Services and they will see the matter is sent to the relevant department of Council and the Risk Unit.

Council will ensure the complaint is followed up and advise you in relation to any appropriate action to be taken.

Please note not all contractors involved in clean-up work are necessarily appointed by Council. It is suggested you take photos of any damage and of any identifying numbers or names on vehicles/equipment being used by the contractor.

If you cannot identify the contractor, our Operations team can make enquiries to see if the contractor involved was a Council-appointed one and provide you with contact details.

Building repairs and permits

An existing exemption from the need for a planning permit is in place for repairs to existing buildings, including the replacement of walls and roofs for sheds and houses that may have been impacted by the storm.

The repairs of your house and/or shed must be “like-for-like” to receive an exemption from the need of a planning permit.

For more information about whether you need a planning permit, call our Planning team on 5422 0333 or email planning@mrsc.vic.gov.au

Unfortunately, if your building needs to be completely rebuilt you may require a planning permit, however, we will work with you to ensure a decision can be made quickly for you.

In all instances, either structural repairs or replacement building you will need a Building Permit from a private building surveyor. 

Macedon and Woodend online storm recovery information sessions

Council is continuing community recovery sessions to help local residents and landholders affected by storm damage. Recent sessions provided an opportunity for residents of Macedon, Mt Macedon, Woodend, Ashbourne and surrounds to ask questions and connect with support services. 

These sessions followed on from community recovery drop-in sessions that were held in Lancefield, Romsey and Kyneton on 18,19 and 20 August with multiple agencies and support services available to respond to individual resident enquiries. 

Council thanks representatives from Bushfire Recovery Victoria, DELWP, Parks Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, Australian Red Cross, Victorian Council of Churches, and Council who attended. 

Click here(PDF, 234KB) to read the community conversation summary.

Recovery support newsletter

Council activated its Recovery Operations Centre based at Gisborne in June and is still dealing with a high volume of enquiries covering a range of issues. These include:

  • Building damage to homes and sheds.
  • Residential and rural fencing losses.
  • Water damage.
  • Tree damage and debris (from 1-2 trees to over 1000 on some larger properties)
  • Arborist assessments and contractor referrals
  • Insurance advice referrals
  • Internet/power down
  • Emergency accommodation referrals.
  • Financial support advice and referrals to DHHS.
  • Animal welfare and livestock management with fencing down.
  • Mental health support referrals.

Council has been working with all emergency authorities and supporting our Neighbourhood Houses and other health organisations in their response efforts.

Staff across all key areas of the Council are still assessing the level of impact in the region, natural environment and the extent of our community’s needs in this recovery phase.

Our recovery newsletter information below can also be downloaded and printed here(PDF, 419KB).

nbn and internet connections

If people have had their power restored and their nbn service has not come back online, they should speak with their phone and internet provider. nbnLocal based in Bendigo is currently working with local organisations and phone and internet provider to access and restore the parts of the nbn network that have been affected. 

If your service over the nbn network isn’t working: 

  • If you’re experiencing a power outage visit nbn.com.au/powerblackouts 
  • If you have power, but are experiencing issues with your service over the nbn network, contact your phone and internet provider as a field technician may be required to visit your premises 
  • Have more questions? Email vicstorms@nbnco.com.au.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Police, Fire, Ambulance: Triple Zero 000 

  • State Emergency Services (SES)—floods or storms: 13 25 00

  • VicEmergency Hotline: 1800 226 226 

Insurance

If you have property or contents insurance, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the event. 

  • Ask your insurer for advice on actions you should take.
  • Do not discard or throw away damaged items without first consulting your insurance company. 
  • Make a list of items that have been damaged and take photographs if possible. 
  • Keep receipts for any emergency repair work.

For assistance with insurance contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1800 734 621 (24 hour hotline). You can find information on lodging a claim following a disaster on the Insurance Council of Australia website.

Mental health

It is normal to have strong reactions following an emergency or distressing event. People can experience a range of physical, mental, emotional, and behavioural reactions.

There are a number support services available to assist you and your family recover. If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline 13 11 14

Other contacts:

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

Protect your health

Nurse-on-Call on 1300 60 60 24 - this is a phone service that allows you to discuss any health related issue with a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Victoria. 

Do not use appliances designed for outdoor use inside a home, basement, garage, caravan or tent. Appliances such as barbecues, grills, camp stoves or other devices that burn petrol, liquid petroleum gas, natural gas or charcoal should only be operated in a well-ventilated outdoor area away from open windows and vents.

Family violence

Emergencies can put additional stress on close relationships and families. Abuse in a relationship is never acceptable, regardless of the circumstances, and is never the fault of the victim.

The Orange Door is the access point to services for adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence.

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provides confidential support for women and children living with family violence. Call 1800 015 188.

The Men’s Referral Service is a confidential telephone service for men who have been victimised by a partner or family member or might be using violence towards a family member. Call 1300 766 491.

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

Clean-up challenge

As Council continues the clean up after the storm, we continue to provide support in two key areas:

  • where a tree is at risk of falling onto your home
  • where a tree is blocking access to your home.

These tasks are being prioritised, and Council and contractors are working to assess trees and clear areas as quickly and safely as possible.

Trees and branches/limbs that have fallen in the storm will be cleared from nature strips and road reserves as quickly as possible, but this will take  months in some areas. Officers are identifying sensitive conservation areas whilst gradually reducing the fire hazard.

Residents are urged to drive safely and to current conditions on local roads. Please slow down in the vicinity of roadside tree clearing works and take care when near heavy vehicles and crews.

If you identify a tree, branches or limbs that are posing a risk to our community – please call (03) 5422 0333.

General information to help you recover after a storm

  • General information to help you recover from a storm from Emergency Victoria.
  • If you experience power outages beyond set thresholds, you may be entitled to payment from your electricity distributor. Find out more from the Victorian Government website.
  • General information about food safety during power outages from Health Vic.

There are a dangerous driving conditions throughout the shire, residents are encouraged not travel during this period unless it is essential, and to work remotely if possible.

 After a severe storm:  

  • Check your home and property for damage.  
  • Keep clear of damaged buildings, power lines and trees.  
  • Be aware of road hazards such as floodwater, debris and damaged roads or bridges.  
  • Do not drive through affected areas unless it is necessary.  
  • Check in on neighbours and family and friends that they are ok  
When cleaning up after a storm and floods it is important to take precautions to reduce the possibility of illness, disease or injury: 
  • Cuts from broken glass and debris may be a problem – wear sturdy waterproof boots and rubber or leather gloves.  
  • Don’t use any gas or electrical appliances before having them checked first.  
  • Local water supplies may be contaminated, so boil tap water until local water authorities tell you that the water is safe to drink.  
  • Avoid any areas that remain flooded.  
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to check what your policy includes or excludes, and seek guidance on the claims process. 
  • Most septic tanks should not be structurally damaged by storms as they are below ground. However if you suspect your septic tank has been damaged, do not use or flush your toilet until you know that the septic tank system and associated pipes are intact. If you suspect your system has been physically damaged, contact a licensed plumbing practitioner to have it assessed. 
                           

 

 

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