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We understand the significant impact the recent severe storm event has had on our community. We would like to thank the residents of Trentham and surrounds for the way you have supported each other through these difficult times. We also acknowledge the work of Council staff, Coliban Water, Powercor and all Emergency Services for supporting the community.

Council will continue to support the community through the recovery from the severe weather event in June and we have appointed a Storm Recovery Manager to lead this work. To speak to a member of the Storm Recovery team call Council on 5348 2306.

Call Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) on 1800 560 760 for clean-up on private property

For damage on private properties, the Bushfire Recovery Victoria Storm and Flood program may be able to assist property owners with their clean up. Property owners are encouraged to register for the clean-up program at www.brv.vic.gov.au/cleanup or phone 1800 560 760. You just need to provide BRV with the details of how the storm impacted your property and they will assess if and/or how they can assist.


Green waste disposal

Council will provide free disposal for storm-related green waste at all our transfer stations free of charge until 14 August 2021, at which time we will review the need.

Please note green waste must not be contaminated and noxious weeds will not be accepted.

Proof of residency will be required, such as rate notice or photo ID.


Recovery drop in session

Hepburn Shire Council are running a ‘Hepburn Storm Recovery Community Drop in Session’ on Monday 9 August at the Trentham Sportsground Pavilion – Falls Road, Trentham from 2.00pm to 7.00pm.

This will be an opportunity for residents and businesses to talk to staff from the Emergency Management, Infrastructure, Building, Planning, Environmental Health and Economic Development and Community Care Council teams. There will also be relief and recovery agencies present.

Drop in to find out all the storm recovery information and support that is available. There will be five sessions available and bookings are essential:

Session One: 2.00pm -3.00pm

Session Two: 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Session Three: 4.00pm – 5.00pm

Session Four: 5.00pm – 6.00pm

Session Five: 6.00pm – 7.00pm

Pre-registration of attendance (including children) is required to ensure we meet the COVID density regulations, at https://www.trybooking.com/BTHGI


Financial support

The Victorian and Australian Governments have emergency relief payments for people impacted by the storm. Financial support includes:

Emergency Relief Payments and Emergency Re-establishment Payments (Victorian Government);
A one-off payment is provided to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, medication and accommodation.

A needs assessment is carried out by a Personal Hardship Assistance Officer to determine eligibility.

Payments are up to $560 per adult and $280 per child (up to a maximum of $1960 per eligible family). If you are eligible the money can be electronically transferred to your preferred bank account. It usually takes three to five business days to arrive. Email: EmergencyHardshipPayments@dffh.vic.gov.au to check your eligibility. Be sure to include your name, address and your preferred phone number to be contacted on in your email.

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance (Federal Government). The AGDRP is a one-off payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for children, who have suffered significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home. The DRA provides up to 13 weeks of income support to people whose income has been affected.  Call Service Australia to apply on 1802266

There is also a Prolonged Power Outage Payment, call 131799 and free financial counselling through the National Debt Hotline 1800 007 007.


Storm and Flood Clean-Up Program

Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) has set up their headquarters at the old abattoir site in Daylesford. If your property was impacted by the storm, we encourage you to register for BRV’s Storm and Flood Clean-Up program, and the assessment of hazardous trees. Learn more, check your eligibility and register your property online (www.brv.vic.gov.au/cleanup) or call the Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 between 8am – 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on weekends. 

We know you may have provided details to multiple agencies, however, this is needed to ensure consent is given for access to your property.

One you have registered, the BRV team will visit to assess your clean-up requirements. If you are unsure, we encourage you to register.

Please note, to request support:

  • You must be a private property owner
  • The private property must be in one of the 39 local government areas (LGAs) impacted by the June 2021 storms and floods.
  • The damage to your property must have occurred as a direct result of the storms and floods on 9–10 June 2021.

Clean-Up Program – Structures on private property

To be eligible for the Clean–Up program on private property, the affected property must contain a structure(s) that was destroyed or damaged beyond repair. Structures will be cleared and removed along with any hazards cleared to access a structure.

The 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. BRV is partnering with Johns Lyng Group to undertake the Clean–Up program.

Johns Lyng Group is Australia’s largest disaster recovery specialist with more than 67 years’ experience playing leading roles in the recovery efforts of major disasters Australia-wide.

Trees on private property that are still standing but have become hazardous

BRV is accepting registrations for the assessment of hazardous trees on private property which pose a risk to a place of residence or personal safety. Trees on private property that were made hazardous because of the June 2021 storms and are within falling distance of a structure or access to a structure can be professionally assessed and recommendations made for their treatment.

Fallen trees on private property

Private property owners with fallen trees that haven’t damaged or destroyed a structure or no longer pose a risk to a place of residence can reach out to VicForests for advice.

VicForests is a State-owned business that harvests, sells and regrows sustainable timber from Victoria’s native forests and may be able to help advise on the processing of wind-thrown timber on private property.

VicForests can provide property owners with advice on the potential for fallen trees to be used as timber products. This advice could include contact details of businesses that may be interested in utilising the timber and may remove the timber for a fee.

Property owners can contact VicForests for an assessment of the timber on their property by emailing vfs.admin@vicforests.com.au and detailing their location, how much timber is on their properties and dimensions.


Tree requests on Council property

If you are concerned about a tree on Council land please call Council on 5348 2306 or register it via our Customer Service site.


Look up!

Please remember that wind and rain mean that vulnerable trees may be more likely to fall. Please take care when out and about and look up to check overhead branches. Do not use tracks and trails that are closed to the public. Look after yourself and exercise caution when outdoors.


Personal help and counselling

Face-to-face and tele-health social work support is available through Central Highlands Rural Health. Please call 5321 6550 for more information.

To register for personal help through the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry (VCC EM) call (03) 9654 1736 or visit https://vccem.org.au/services/personal-support/.


Mental wellbeing

It is normal to experience a range of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural reactions following an emergency or distressing event.

It is important people look after their mental health and that of their friends, family and neighbours.

Elderly or isolated people, and those who have a pre-existing mental illness, history of trauma or recent bereavement may need extra support during an emergency.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to cope, reach out for help from friends and family or contact the services listed below.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Or contact:

  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 offers free (even from a mobile) 24/7 support by qualified counsellors for young people aged 5 to 25 – also available via webchat and email, visit https://kidshelpline.com.au/
  • Beyond Blue 1800 512 348 has trained counsellors available to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on Beyond Blue’s phone support line and online chatservice visit https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/i-need-support-now.html
  • Parentline 13 22 89 is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old offering confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues
  • Your regular GP or health centre
  • Family and friends
  • Better Health Channel (betterhealth.vic.gov.au)
  • If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

The way you react to an emergency, including your mental and emotional response, and the time it takes to recover, depends on many things. This includes the amount of support available, other stressors being experienced, or previous traumatic experiences. Recovery will be complex and unique to your own circumstance.


Financial counselling

Financial counselling is a free and confidential service available for anyone affected by an emergency.

A financial counsellor can help you to:

  • access relief for utility bills and other payments
  • understand your government income and other entitlements
  • negotiate with your bank on debt issues
  • identify if your insurance outcome is fair and appropriate
  • provide you with options and can advocate on your behalf.

National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007

The National Debt Helpline is a telephone financial counselling service open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The financial counsellors at the National Debt Helpline can put you in contact with your local face-to-face financial counselling service. Anyone struggling financially due to an emergency can contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or use the live chat on the website. Visit: https://www.ndh.org.au/


Legal advice support

Ballarat & Grampians Community Legal Service is offering free legal assistance to residents impacted by the recent storms. You may be impacted by issues relating to insurance claims, property damage including fencing, tenancy issues, debt management, compliance with family law/family violence orders, replacing lost or damaged documents such as powers of attorney. For more information or assistance visit www.bgcls.org.au or call (03) 5331 5999.


Timber from storm damage

We’re hearing loud and clear from the community that there are concerns about the amount of debris on our roadsides and public areas after the recent severe storm. We are working through options on how the timber from the storm damage will be managed and best used. We appreciate that there are opportunities to provide firewood or material for artists/wood turners (or for other uses), but we need to ensure there is a safe process to facilitate this. It seems like a simple thing to do, but we need to ensure we meet all the requirements (planning, environmental and safe access to mention a few). Safety is our biggest priority. We will update this page when more information is available.


Some parks and reserves closed

Our Parks & Open Space crews were working alongside contractors to continue to remove tree related risks at all reserves around Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.

All parks and reserves around Creswick, Clunes, Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and Trentham are also now open, with the exception of:

  • Trentham Recreation Reserve
  • Quarry St Reserve playground in Trentham.

Please be aware there is still lots of debris laying on the ground, so watch your step and please note that all trees are still vulnerable.


ATO Assistance

The ATO is here to help if you’ve been affected by the recent weather event in Victoria.

The devastating storms and resulting flooding and power outages have made many people’s lives more difficult, often on top of other challenges such as COVID-19. If tax and super affairs are contributing to your worries, the ATO is here to help and has a range of practical support options available, including:

  • prioritising any refunds owed
  • setting up payment plans to help with your circumstances
  • reissuing tax documents or records.

You can visit the ATO website at www.ato.gov.au/disasters or call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 for more information.

It’s important to lodge on time, even if you can’t pay by the due date, so that you have some certainty about your tax and super position. It lets us know you’re aware of your obligations and doing your best to meet them even in difficult circumstances.

Our online services give you access to a range of tax and super services in one place including lodging activity statements and tax returns, paying tax bills and creating and managing payment plans. Visit ato.gov.au/onlineservices for more information.


Farmers

The Victorian Government has announced that a dedicated Agriculture Recovery Manager will work with Victorian farmers hit by the recent storms and floods as assessments of damage in affected areas continue across the state. Landholders can call Agriculture Victoria on the VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 for advice on horticultural, livestock and other agricultural issues. For more information about available assistance, flood or storm-affected farmers can visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/floods. Farmers can also contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175 for support and advice.


Businesses

Council officers are working closely with State Government to understand impacts on local businesses. If you are a local business operator and would like to meet with one of our Economic Development team members to discuss impacts on your business, please call 5348 2306 or email business@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Free mentoring support

Small Business Mentoring Service (SBMS), with the support of Small Business Victoria, are providing free business mentoring sessions. During the sessions they will provide advice and assistance, triage to other support organisations, administrative support and more.

The SBMS mentors travel to all regions impacted by the storm over the next four to five weeks. They will visit our Shire on a variety of days during this time. Small Business owners are invited to register via www.sbms.org.au (use code STORM1) below for a dedicated 90-minute mentoring session either on location or virtual session with one of the SBMS mentors.


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 SafeEmergency works are conducted to minimise hazards and prevent further damage.
2.    Assessing the damageAn 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.    RepairOnce 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 settlementYou 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/complaintsIf 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.