Cleaning up and rebuilding

When cleaning up after a storm and flood 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.  

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 (03) 5422 0333 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 (03) 5422 0333 or email

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. 


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

Insurance Recovery Process

To assist with insurance recovery, these are the typical insurance stages you can expect an insurance claim to follow.

The timing of each stage in the insurance claim process will differ depending on the severity and complexity of the claim.


1. Make Safe

Emergency works are conducted to minimise hazards and prevent further damage. Ensure photos are taken and avoid throwing anything away until contact has been made with your insurer and consent has been provided.

2. Assessing the damage

An insurance assessor (or claims adjuster) will inspect the damage to your property. An engineering inspection may also be required.

3. Scope of Work (or Statement of Work)

The Scope of Work is a written report that sets out the repair/rebuild work to be performed. It’s important to read the report and let your insurer know if changes are required. A Scope of Work can be varied later if further damage is found.

4. Repair

Once the Scope of Work has been agreed, it’s time to repair or replace the damage. If your insurer is managing the repair/rebuild, it will appoint a builder, arrange the contracts and notify you of the construction schedule. Your insurer will also manage local council approvals as required. Asbestos removal work will be undertaken by licensed workers.

5. Cash settlement

You may take a cash settlement to manage the repair or rebuilding work yourself. It’s important that you comply with Council regulations and buildings codes, as well as using a licensed builder. If you fail to do this your home may not be insurable in the future.

6. Feedback/complaints

If you are unhappy with the handling of your insurance claim, you can lodge a complaint with your insurer. Your insurer has a dedicated dispute resolution process to resolve your concerns. If you need further assistance, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority on 1800 931 678.

Please contact your insurer with any claims questions you may have. If you have a general insurance inquiry you may contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1300 728 228.

Resource recovery facilities (transfer stations) and green waste collection

Council is offering free green waste disposal to assist with storm clean up.

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


Macedon Ranges, Moorabool and Hepburn Shire Council partnership

ERV Community Clean Up Support grant

Macedon Ranges, Moorabool and Hepburn Shire councils received joint funding for a volunteer-led clean up program through the Emergency Recovery Victoria (formerly Bushfire Recovery Victoria) Community Clean Up Support grant.

The councils are working together, in partnership with Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) to deliver this program. Works commenced in March 2023. DRA volunteers are operating out of a ‘home base’ at the Tylden Hall for a portion of this time. Council would like to thank the Tylden Hall Committee for working with Council to make this possible. 

About Disaster Relief Australia

Founded in 2016 with the expressed goal of responding to large-scale disasters, DRA has deployed hundreds of volunteers across Australia and the world to provide relief to communities in need. DRA unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with those of first responders to deploy disaster relief teams in the wake of natural disasters. Find out more: Disaster Relief Australia