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State Government of Victoria

Fire Recovery Unit Update - Edition 11

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May 2012, Edition 11


Featured News

Health and well-being

Business support

Rebuilding support

Community facilities and support

Important dates and events

  • 22 May 2012 Traralgon South Hall opening
  • 31 May 2012 Bushfire Buy-Back applications close
  • 1 June 2012 VBAF counselling and wellness vouchers applications close
  • 7 June 2012 Community information session, Humevale
  • 30 June 2012 Marysville and Triangle Area Investment Subsidy applications close
  • 30 June 2012 Rainwater tank grant applications close
  • 30 April 2013 Fast Track Applications for Planning Permits close
  • 30 April 2013 Planning exemption for temporary accommodation expires

Featured news

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Fire Recovery Housing Survey to improve ongoing services

The Fire Recovery Unit will shortly commence a phone survey of some bushfire-affected households. The survey aims to improve data on the re-housing status of bushfire-affected people, including those living in temporary accommodation. The survey will also ensure that people are aware of services that may assist them to rebuild or transition to permanent accommodation.

Letters informing the households to be surveyed will arrive in May 2012. Short phone surveys will commence in the same month.

Should you have any questions about the survey call 1800 055 714 or email

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New homes for bushfire survivors at Marysville

Six new affordable housing units were officially opened in Marysville by Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell MP on 12 April 2012. The Mt Kitchener Avenue properties and two new homes in Falls Road replace public housing that was destroyed in the 2009 bushfires.

The new homes provide high-quality accommodation with six-star energy efficiency features. The homes also have a Bushfire Attack Level rating of 19 to protect them against the threat of embers.

The new tenants have been re-housed from the temporary village that was established in Marysville after the fires.

The total project cost was $2.18 million, with funding from the Commonwealth Government’s Nation Building Social Housing Initiative. The project was managed by the Victorian Department of Human Services.

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Creating a new normal – film launch

On 17 April 2012 an inspiring documentary by Firefoxes Austraila, Creating a New Normal, was launched to an enthusiastic crowd in Melbourne. The 30-minute documentary follows the extraordinary stories of women in the Kinglake area as they rebuild their community following the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

The simple, yet powerful messages are already being heard in disaster-affected communities around Australia and internationally.

The documentary was made possible by the kind support of the Victorian Women’s Trust and filmmaker, Helen Newman.

Following the success of the documentary, Firefoxes will record short audio grabs from women on a variety of recovery topics. The recordings will focus on giving advice to people who are starting their journey of recovery following a natural disaster.

Visit to view the Creating a New Normal documentary.

Call 0427 398 867 or email for more information about Firefoxes’ monthly gatherings in the Kinglake area or to contribute to the audio project.

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Health and well-being

Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund counselling and wellness vouchers

Vouchers for psychological counselling and allied health services are still available. Vouchers are available for:

  • People who have previously received gifts from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund.
  • People who have received the Victorian Bushfire Case Management service.
  • Dependant children (over five years of age) of people eligible for the above.
  • Other people who have been directly affected by the Victorian bushfires, eg family and close friends of people affected by the bushfires and those people who have lost their livelihood directly through the effects of the bushfires.

Once eligible, you will receive six psychological counselling vouchers at a time valued at $150 each. Those wishing to see an allied health practitioner for services such as massage, naturopathy and acupuncture will receive four wellness vouchers at a time valued at $50 each.

Additional rounds of vouchers are available to those who have used up their initial allotment and want to continue their treatment.

You have until 1 June 2012 to apply for the vouchers which are redeemable until 31 August 2012.

For more information call the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund Hotline on 1800 180 213 or download an application form at

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Bushfire Communities Support Program

Bushfire Communities Support workers can assist you with personal recovery. Support workers provide personal support and can link you to services, events and activities in your communities. The program is available to residents who live in the shires of Yarra Ranges, Latrobe, Mitchell, Murrindindi, Alpine, Whittlesea and Nillumbik.

The Bushfire Communities Support Program Helpline can assist all bushfire-affected people with a range of enquiries concerning personal assistance, counselling, financial issues, employment, and health support.

Contact the Bushfire Communities Support Helpline on 1800 050 400 or visit

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Business support

Marysville Triangle Investment Subsidy

Have you submitted your application for an investment subsidy? Subsidies are available if you are looking to establish a business or invest in commercial or rental property in Marysville, Buxton, Taggerty or Narbethong. The subsidy supports projects for:

  • tourism accommodation (eg B&Bs and holiday rentals);
  • building rental accommodation;
  • retail and professional services premises;
  • restaurants and food premises; and
  • light industry.

The subsidised loans are available if you have not yet obtained planning approval and loan approval for an investment, and have not commenced construction.

Loan applications close on 30 June 2012. For more information visit

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Small Business Mentoring Service

Was your business affected by the 2009 bushfires? If so, the Victorian Government’s Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS) can provide you with mentoring services and advice on grant availability.

For more information visit or phone the Victorian Business Line on 13 22 15.

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Rebuilding support

Fast-track planning approvals

If you intend to rebuild your home following the 2009 bushfires, you may be eligible for fast-track planning approval. Applications for fast-track approval are available from your local council and must be submitted by 30 April 2013.

Beyond this date, planning permit applications are subject to normal planning processes and additional requirements including referral of your application to the relevant fire authority for review.

The Rebuilding Advisory Service can provide advice on the planning permit requirements and the submission process:

  • Ken Alexander: 0408 701 715
    (Marysville and surrounds, Gippsland)
  • Hank Leine: 0400 666 660
    (Kinglake and surrounds)
  • Barry Ingram: 0400 661 360
    (Kinglake and surrounds)

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Temporary accommodation

Extensions to the temporary planning scheme controls mean that you now have until 30 April 2013 to move into permanent accommodation. You can apply to make your temporary dwelling into a permanent dwelling at the same location. However, as there is no guarantee that your temporary dwelling is suitable as a permanent dwelling, it is best to start the application process at least six months prior to 30 April 2013.

The Rebuilding Advisory Service can advise on obtaining the necessary planning permit should you wish to seek approval to convert your temporary accommodation to a permanent dwelling.

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Building Permit Levy reimbursement

You have until October 2012 to apply for a Building Permit Levy reimbursement. Application forms are available from the Building Commission web site.

For more information visit

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Rainwater tank grants

If you were eligible for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund Destroyed Homes payments, you may also be eligible for a one-off grant (up to $1000) to purchase and install a rainwater tank.

Current building standards must be met and tanks must be plumbed into all toilets in the house. To be eligible for the grant, you must provide a Plumbing Industry Certificate and a tax invoice/receipt for the rainwater tank.

The grants will be available for tanks installed by 30 June 2012 and claims must be lodged by 30 September 2012.

Contact Sustainability Victoria on 1300 366 195 or email for more information. Download an application at

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New guide for landscaping in bushfire areas

A new guide for designing gardens in high-risk bushfire areas was launched by Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response, Peter Ryan MP on 30 March 2012. The guide, Landscaping for Bushfire: Garden Design and Plant Selection, was developed by the Country Fire Authority.

The guide applies to new and established homes in high-risk bushfire areas, including properties in the Bushfire Management Overlay.

Information about the Bushfire Management Overlay is available at

Download the landscaping guide or use the plant selection tool at

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Community facilities and support

Community information session with Dr Rob Gordon

Residents of City of Whittlesea and surrounds are invited to a dinner and information session with Dr Rob Gordon. Dr Gordon (clinical psychologist) will be joined by Mark ‘Squiz’ Squirrell (aid worker, ex-commando and Mt Everest adventurer) to reflect on personal stages of recovery and resilience strategies for the future.

The free session will be held at 7pm, Thursday 7 June 2012, Whittlesea Golf Club, 160 Humevale Road, Humevale. Dinner included. Call (03) 9217 2252 or email for more information. Bookings are essential.

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Emergency services grants on offer

Volunteer emergency services groups are now invited to apply for a share of $11.95 million worth of grants to purchase new resources and operational equipment.

The State Government’s Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program is offering grants of up to $100,000 (excluding GST) to ensure local volunteer groups are equipped to respond to emergencies and natural disasters. The program aims to enhance the capability and safety of local volunteers and provide the State with assets to continue to respond to significant events such as bushfires, floods and heatwaves.

Grants may be used for upgrades to group facilities, or to purchase equipment needed to assist in emergencies, such as trucks, trailers and generators.

The program will also contribute $2 for every $1 of funding raised by local volunteer groups.

Contact the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program by email on or visit for more information.

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Bushfire Skills Broker Program completed

In 2010, the Victorian Government funded three Bushfire Skills Brokers to work in Kinglake, Marysville and Gippsland to provide bushfire-affected people with information on vocational training opportunities.

Over an 18-month period, 1021 people from the three areas used the service. The Brokers worked closely within the communities to link training opportunities with recovery efforts, partnering with local employers and recovery committees.

The Victorian Government wishes to acknowledge the efforts of Sue Buxton, Chris Muir and Maria Romanin from Swinburne University of Technology, and Ami Summers from Central Gippsland Institute of TAFE in making the program a success.

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Traralgon South Hall opening

The upgraded Traralgon South Hall will officially open in May 2012 following extensive renovation. Works at the Hall included new toilets and showers, extra meeting space, sound proofing in the main hall, additional storage space, improved lighting and general repairs. The children's playground was also upgraded and two barbeques were installed. A new access ramp and handrails mean the building is now accessible to all.

The Traralgon South District community has benefited from strong local leadership, the capable project management of Latrobe City Council and $500,000 in funding from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund for this project.

The upgraded Hall will be launched at 5pm, Tuesday, 22 May 2012, at 3 Keith Morgan Drive, Traralgon South. Contact Monica Chisholm on mobile 0407 785 345 or by email for more information.

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Glenburn Hall and Old Schoolhouse opening

The residents of Glenburn now have new facilities for community events and gatherings at the Glenburn Hall and Old Schoolhouse, which was opened on 14 April 2012 by local member for Seymour, Cindy McLeish MP.

The Hall and Schoolhouse were used as staging areas for emergency relief and recovery in the wake of the bushfires. The restoration and upgrade of these facilities were key community priorities. Recent works at the Hall include a new multipurpose room and an upgrade of the roof, while works at the Schoolhouse include re-stumping, new floors and a new water tank. Works at the nearby Glenburn Reserve include new playground equipment and construction of a shelter.

Funding for the projects (total $1.3 million) was made possible through the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, Melbourne Water, the Department of Planning and Community Development, Global Quest, private donors and the Murrindindi Shire Council’s Bushfire Trust.

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Community Engagement Coordinators

Community Engagement Coordinators (CECs) from the Fire Recovery Unit are an important interface between impacted communities and government. CECs provide hands-on support to communities, assisting with the resolution of community issues and helping to deliver rebuilding and recovery projects.

Contact details for CECs are:

  • Kim Fawcus: 0400 278 555
    (Murrindindi, Mitchell and Apline shires)
  • Bec Nicoll: 0434 211 241
    (Nillumbik, Whittlesea and Yarra Ranges shires and Loddon Mallee, Barwon South West and Grampians regions)
  • Laurie Paton: 0438 307 083
    (Gippsland region)

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Other information

Use of the Yellow Ribbon

New communication guidelines for the use of the Yellow Ribbon as the symbol of the 2009 Victorian bushfire reconstruction and recovery effort have been released. Two versions of the guidelines are available:

  • A guide for Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund projects/initiatives
  • A guide for any Victorian Government department supported or funded projects/initiatives.

Download the guides at or call 1800 055 714 for assistance.

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Key Contacts Guide

The Contacts Guide for people affected by the 2009 bushfires has been updated and is available on the Fire Recovery Unit web page.

Download the guide at or call 1800 055 714 for assistance.

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Stay updated with The Update

If you would like to receive the Fire Recovery Unit Update by email or mail please email your name and address details to or phone 1800 055 714

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Have Your Say

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Please pass this on to affected friends and family who may not yet have registered for the newsletter

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Last Updated: 01 October 2013