Storm Recovery

Published on 12 October 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).

Macedon and Woodend online storm recovery information sessions

Council is continuing community recovery sessions to help local residents and landholders affected by storm damage. Each session will focus on connecting residents with multi-agency specialists who can assist with storm recovery by providing advice and information. The coming two sessions will focus on Woodend and Macedon.

Due to current COVID-19 capacity restrictions, these sessions will be held online.

Three community recovery drop-in sessions 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. 

The series of community recovery drop-in sessions during August were arranged to help local residents and landholders directly affected by storm damage to access a range of support services. Council is aware some people may not yet have sought help.

Seek specialist advice and receive the information you need to recover and rebuild from the storm, and begin to identify and prepare to reduce the fire risks on your property for spring and summer.

Representatives from Bushfire Recovery Victoria, DELWP, Parks Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, Australian Red Cross, Victorian Council of Churches, and Council will be available to speak with local residents.

Council’s Economic Development team will also be at each venue.

In the meantime if you have an immediate need for advice or support call our Recovery Operations Centre on (03) 5422 0237 or email recovery@mrsc.vic.gov.au.

Property access in lockdown

Official guidance from Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to Bushfire Recovery Victoria as at 1 September 2021, is that:

  • Residents can return to their storm damaged homes that are more than 5kms away so they can attend to animals, meet trades on site etc.

This is permitted under care and compassion reasons. No written permit is required.

Find out more

Recovery support - September 2021

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).

Free storm firewood supplies

Council teams are still responding to a range of storm recovery needs and we appreciate residents’ patience while activating our new free firewood service.

High demand for Council’s free firewood offer and recent lockdowns has delayed distribution of the wood to the public. However cutting and splitting of large volumes of storm firewood has been able to continue throughout August and we have reliable supplies on hand.

Collection arrangements are now being finalised to start in early October, COVID-19 permitting.

More than 2000 people registered for Round 1 should expect to receive a call soon to finalise their booking timeslot.

We know those who already registered 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 have more fallen timber to process but for now we need to stop taking registrations for free firewood for you. Keep a lookout on this website and our social media channels for updates.

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

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.

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

Roads are starting to reopen after storm clean-up works. Mount Macedon Road is now open. Sections of Mount Macedon Regional Park remain closed.

The storm 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 hazardous trees adjacent some roadside reserves across the shire.

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.

The Base, Creek and Summit walking tracks are open.

Hanging Rock Cafe is open. Check their website for opening hours

Mount Macedon Rd and Macedon Regional Park

Roads are starting to reopen after storm clean-up works. Mount Macedon Road is now open. To find out more about Mount Macedon Rd check out Regional Roads Victoria's website.

Sections of Macedon Regional Park are still closed due to storm damage. For public safety, areas will remain closed for further clearing of hazardous trees, ongoing dangers of tree fall, unstable ground conditions and damaged infrastructure in car parks and picnic grounds.

Some popular sites will require long-term planning and remediation works. Parks Victoria will open sites as soon as they are safe, and works have been completed.

Open

Harbison Picnic Ground, Cameron Drive, Top of the Range Tearooms, Cameron's and McGregor's Picnic Grounds, Camels Hump and walking tracks in Old Scout Camp Area.

Closed

War Memorial Reserve (managed by Committee of Management), Days and Sanatorium Lake Picnic Grounds, Walking track from Bawden Road to War Memorial Reserve and all other roads and tracks.

Bushland reserves

Many trees across the shire are still unstable after the recent storm. Council has been assessing the damage in our conservation reserves and determining what works are required to make them safe. Please do not enter closed bushland reserves. Be aware that tree hazards still exist in the open reserves off track so take care.

  • Old Ashbourne Road Reserve remains closed
  • Mt Gisborne – open
  • Mt Aitken – open
  • Daly Nature Reserve – open
  • Black Hill Reserve – open
  • Stanley Park – open
  • Hobbs Road – open
  • Bullengarook Recreation Reserve (bushland area) – open
  • Marsh Court Reserve – open
  • Bald Hill Reserve – open

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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