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Council calls for input into storm, flood response review

Latrobe City Council will write to the Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp APM calling for a review into the flood and storm event of 9 and 10 June 2021 to be broadened.

At the 5 July Council Meeting, Council voted to request that the terms of reference of the review include an assessment of the adequacy of the emergency response, in addition to the mooted assessment of the notification and warnings system.

Council requested to be consulted in the development of the terms of reference and voted to write to Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) to ask for:

  • Consideration of reimbursement options for residents who have incurred costs related to clearing access to and from private property due to the flood and storm.
  • Recognition of the significant immediate and lasting impacts on many residents as a result of recent natural disasters.

Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said Council would work with all Victorian Government agencies to ensure adequate support is provided for the Latrobe City community and thanked front-line Council staff who supported the community in the emergency response.

“We are ready and committed to working collaboratively with government, agencies and community groups to ensure that the voice of our community is heard,” she said.

“The response and support of emergency agencies volunteers, and broader community members – mums and dads, and neighbours who dropped everything to help those at their time of need -has demonstrated true community spirit.

“It is important that the learnings from our community’s experience is captured as part of the government’s review process, and that key learnings are not only considered but result in change that will benefit the Latrobe City community and broader Victorians when it comes to alerting community and responding and supporting community during and post a natural disaster. We cannot lose this lesson.

“Our Chief Executive Officer has taken the time to express these views on behalf of Council and the community when he met with the Emergency Management Commissioner recently.

“It is important for our community, particularly those who have been directly impacted, to know that Council has and will continue to advocate strongly to all levels of government to ensure that not only a formal review is undertaken, but that a range of ongoing support packages are available to support in the recovery phase.

“Council welcomes support from the State and Federal governments to help the municipality recover from the flood and storm event, as announced this week.”

Private property owners affected by the storm and flooding event will receive government support for:

  • Clean-up of destroyed and damaged structures from the 9 and 10 June event at no cost. Structures can include residential homes and sheds, commercial buildings and other out-buildings.
  • Assessment of trees on private land that are still standing but have become dangerous because of the storm and flood event. Only trees that pose a risk to structures and personal safety will be eligible.
  • Assessment of trees that fell during the 9 and 10 June event.

Cr Gibson urged people to consider their eligibility and apply to help fast-track their recovery.

“The storm and flood event has resulted in significant stress and work for our community, and this relief from the State and Federal governments will go a long way to assisting our community,” she said.

“Council acknowledges the governments for coming to the aid of our community at its time of need.”

The Storm and Flood Clean-Up program is fully-funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments and provided at no cost to eligible property owners, regardless of whether they were insured or not.

Initial funding of $55.5 million has been provided for the first phase of the program which will be delivered by BRV in partnership with Johns Lyng Group, Australia’s largest disaster recovery specialist.

The program will work with local contractors to demolish, remove and dispose of structures that were destroyed or damaged beyond repair by the storms, including residential and commercial buildings.

It also includes the removal of hazards such as dangerous trees that pose a threat to property or work crews, as well as vehicles that were damaged beyond repair. More information can be found on Latrobe City Council’s website: https://www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/Storm_and_Flood_Government_Support_FAQ

Council acknowledges the State Government for providing $8.2 million to 10 councils – including Latrobe City - significantly affected by the flood and storm.

The Council Support Fund will ensure councils have the recovery staff and expertise they need on the ground, and create dedicated local teams to coordinate and drive recovery efforts. The funding can be used to employ additional recovery staff, onboard specialist contractors and provide targeted training support to help local communities recover.

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