Storm Recovery

Published on 05 August 2021

Need assistance? If you need support following the recent storms, please contact the Macedon Ranges Recovery Operations Centre (ROC) by calling 5422 0237 or emailing recovery@mrsc.vic.gov.au (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).

Latest update: Thursday 5 August

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, 1MB).

Free storm firewood supplies

Please note: We've had an extraordinary response to the free firewood offer from residents. In just one week over 2,000 residents have registered for the firewood offer. At 2m3 per resident that is over 4,000m3 of firewood that will be picked up by the community from our transfer stations over the coming weeks.

We have more fallen timber to process and turn into free firewood for you, but for now we need to stop taking registrations whilst our cutters and splitters catch up with demand.

Keep a lookout on this website and our social media channels for updates as to when the next installment of free firewood is available.

Clean-up challenge

As Council continues the clean up after the storm, and enters the next phase of recovery, 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 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.

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

Access new funding

Council has been advocating with the State Government to provide extra assistance to our residents and ratepayers after many private properties sustained damage to buildings, fences and trees.

Council welcomes the recent announcement of $55.5 million recovery funding from government to address urgent requests to help affected Victorian communities including Macedon Ranges Shire.

These are jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements to be delivered by Bushfire Recovery Victoria which has teams working in affected Council areas.

Local property owners are urged to register with BRV to have structural damage removed and any remaining dangerous trees on their properties assessed, and/or made safe at no cost.

This voluntary program is open to eligible property owners impacted by recent storms, regardless of whether or not they were insured.

Property owners in Macedon Ranges Shire are encouraged to check their eligibility and register for the clean-up program or by phoning 1800 560 760.

Please carefully read the following documents for detailed information and advice first.

Should you still need assistance to register online or simply require help to navigate this process, you are welcome to call Council’s Recovery Operations Centre on (03) 5422 0237.

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.

Cleaning up trees on your property

Who can help me clear trees on my private property?

  • Insurance
  • Private contractors
  • Bushfire Recovery Victoria’s Clean-Up program.
  • 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.

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. 

Relief payments, hardship assistance and financial support

Relief payments from State Government

If your home has been damaged due to the storm you may be eligible for a relief payment. Please register your query with Council through the ROC number at the top of this page.

Hardship assistance and financial support

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Road closures

As a result of June’s extreme weather event, roads are starting to reopen. Mount Macedon Road is now open. Cameron Drive and Mount Macedon Regional Park remain closed. To find out more about Mount Macedon Rd check out Regional Roads Victoria's website.

The storm has also caused dangerous road conditions and a number of other local roads are closed, however they might not be sign posted. If you need to travel, be aware there may still be trees and debris over roads.

Visit VicTraffic for main road closures. For urgent road hazards call VicRoards on 13 11 70.

Hanging Rock, Macedon Regional Park, and reserves closures

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock Reserve has been undergoing extensive clean up and revegetation since the June storm.

As of Wednesday 28 July the Base Walking Track and Creek Walking Track will both be open in their entirety. Note the Creek Walking Track may be muddy and boggy in certain parts due to the ongoing rain.

The Summit Walking Track will also re-open, with the exception of the staircase detour that takes visitors beneath ‘Hanging Rock’ itself. It is expected this will take at least another few weeks to reopen this section. The ramp is open all the way, so you can still experience all of the other main points of interest including Stone Henge, Lovers Leap, The Saddle and the Summit itself….all the way to the top.

Hanging Rock Cafe is reopening, so make sure to drop by for a hot chocolate by the fire (open Thursday to Monday).

Please note: From Wednesday 4 August, the Summit Walk will be closed each Wednesday over the coming weeks to aid teams in clean up and revegetation as the bushland recovers.

Mount Macedon Rd and Macedon Regional Park

As a result of June’s extreme weather event, Mount Macedon Road and Cameron Drive are open to only local residents and essential services, and remain closed to all other vehicles.

Macedon Regional Park also remains closed. To find out more check out Regional Roads Victoria's website.

Bushland reserves

Many trees across the shire are still unstable after the recent storm. Council is still assessing the damage in our conservation reserves and determining what works are required to make them safe. Please do not enter bushland reserves until it is safe to do so. Below is a list of the reserves and when we hope to have them open. 

  • Mt Gisborne – open
  • Mt Aitken – open
  • Daly Nature Reserve – open
  • Black Hill Reserve – open
  • Stanley Park – open
  • Hobbs Road – Scheduled to open 6 August
  • Bullengarook Recreation Reserve (bushland area) – scheduled to open 6 August
  • Marsh Court Reserve – scheduled to open late August
  • Bald Hill Reserve – scheduled to open early September

Where else can I go?

Although many any bushland reserves remain closed, Council will update the following list as more of our reserves become safe to visit:

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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