council alert

Gippsland Storm Event Relief and Recovery

This content was last updated on:
October 11, 2021 8:24 AM

Wellington Relief Information Line

If you require support, please contact Council’s Relief Information Line on 1300 137 218 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) provides one-off financial assistance to eligible Australians adversely affected by the storms and floods.

The rate of AGDRP is $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child. Claims for this payment can be lodged with Services Australia for a period up to 6 months.

AGDRP is available for people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged, whose major assets have been directly damaged or are the immediate family members of a person who has died as a direct result of the storms and floods.

You have until 31 December 2021 to lodge a claim for AGDRP in the nine (9) local government areas of: Baw Baw, Cardinia, Hepburn, Latrobe, Moorabool, Mornington Peninsula, South Gippsland, Wellington and Yarra Ranges.

For more information on eligibility, visit the Services Australia website or contact the Australian Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 for claims assistance.

Bushfire Recovery Victoria

Bushfire Recovery Victoria will support the clean-up and recovery work for the owners of private property damaged by the storms and floods that occurred on 9-10 June 2021. Find out more here.

Hardship payments and support

If you would like to support those affected, financial donations can be made to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund. Find out more here. Donations of material items and funding can be made through GIVIT. More information here.

Power outages and claims

For compensation for loss of power please visit the Ausnet Services website. Additional support is available via the state government for people who have experienced extended periods of time without power. Please see the Premier of Victoria website.

To be eligible for a Prolonged Power Outage payment you must:

  • Have a residential electricity account
  • Be without power as at 12.01am Thursday 17 June 2021, due to the recent severe weather event

Ausnet are directly contacting all customers who are eligible for relief payments. If you are eligible you can expect to hear from them via SMS soon. If you haven't received an SMS yet, you can complete a form here for the prolonged power outage payment. You will need the NMI (National Meter Number) and Meter Number of the affected property, and can find this information on your electricity bill. You will also need to enter your bank account details to receive the payment.

Assistance is also available via the dedicated storm relief hotline 1300 561 171, 8am-8pm, 7 days.

Secondary Impact Assessments for affected ratepayers

Council is transitioning to a recovery phase and from Monday 28 June, Secondary Impact Assessments will begin, with Council calling residents, ratepayers and business owners who were badly hit by the storm and floods.

Where a property or business owner has suffered property damage but has not heard from Council, it means Council is not aware of their situation. So Council is encouraging everyone who suffered property damage or has other recovery needs to call its Relief Line on 1300 137 218 (9am-5pm weekdays).

Feedback from affected community members will enable assistance to be provided, reveal the extent of the damage and help Council work with community and stakeholders to prioritise actions to address the economic, social, built and natural environment impacts from this emergency event.  


Damaged fencing

BlazeAid can help residents with damaged fencing. BlazeAid representatives will be available at the Heyfield Netball Stadium from Friday 25 June 2021. For more information please contact the Heyfield BlazeAid Coordinator by calling 0477 488 434.

Volunteers are needed for set up, cooking, administration and to rebuild fences at flood-affected properties. Please make contact with BlazeAid if you would like to offer support.

Other BlazeAid support and information will be available at the Heyfield Netball Stadium on Wednesday 23 June from 7pm. Please call Melissa on 0436 316 955 or Debbie on 0418 990 267 to find out more.

If you have a Facebook account, you can find more information here.

Fodder

If you are in need of fodder, you can apply for the Need for Feed (Australia) program here. Need for feed are doing a feed run to Gippsland on 26 and 27 June to assist properties in need.

Additional resources

  • After a flood: returning home safely - When returning to your home after a flood, take precautions to reduce the possibility of illness, disease or injury. Find out more here.
  • After a flood: animal and insect related hazards - When returning to a flood affected area remember that wild animals including, rodents, snakes or spiders may be trapped in your home, shed or garden. This fact sheet offers advice on minimising the risks. Find out more here.
  • After a flood: mould and your health - Airborne mould spores are commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments. When they land on damp spots indoors, they may begin to grow and spread. There is no practical way to eliminate all mould indoors; the way to control indoor mould growth is to control the source of moisture. Find out more here.
  • Power outages: food safety after a power failure - what to do to keep food safe in an emergency power failure. Find out more here.
  • Power outages: using alternative fuel and electricity generation safely - When power outages occur, usually as a result of severe weather events, people sometimes use alternative sources of fuel or electricity generation for cooking, lighting, heating, or power. Portable generators can allow some normal activities to continue, however it is important to use them with extreme caution. Find out more here.

Flood event fact sheet

If you have been impacted by flood or storm, please read the information provided below from the Victorian Department of Health or download the fact sheet below.

COVID-19 and emergencies

Preparing for an emergency, fire or flood event during COVID-19 restrictions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria will continue to face other emergencies such as storms and flooding. It is important everyone is prepared to respond to these emergencies in a COVIDSafe way.

  • If you need to leave your home due to extreme weather, storms or flood, please do so. Follow your normal evacuation or relocation plans in a COVIDSafe way.
  • If you need to leave home because your health and safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with is at risk, please do so. This includes if you are escaping family violence. You can travel to a friend or family member’s home, or book into alternative accommodation like a hotel or motel.
  • Regardless of your location, continue to follow COVIDSafe principles, such as wearing a face mask, washing hands, coughing into a tissue or your elbow and maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
  • If you have COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and need to evacuate, please don’t hesitate to leave. Wear a face mask and contact the Department of Health on the number you have been provided with as soon as you can. 
  • If you live in metropolitan Melbourne and you have a second home beyond the travel radius, you can attend your second home for emergency purposes including emergency maintenance.

Power outages and COVID-19

If a power outage impacts your health or safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with, you can travel to accommodation like a hotel or a friend or family member's house. If you require power for life support or a ventilator you can travel to a friend or family member’s house who has power.

Check your electricity distributor's website to get an estimated time until power is restored.

The Department of Health (DH) works with energy providers to check on customers who are dependent on power.

Regardless of your location, continue to follow COVIDSafe principles, such as wearing a face mask, washing hands, coughing into a tissue or your elbow and maintaining appropriate physical distancing.

COVID-19 confirmed cases or close contact

If you are currently isolating because you have COVID-19, or you have been told you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and you are advised to evacuate or your home becomes unsafe, you may leave.

You should follow the advice of emergency services and travel to a safe place away from the emergency area where you can continue to isolate or quarantine.

If you do not have anywhere to go, find a safe place away from the emergency.  

Once you are safe call your Local Public Health Unit or 1300 651 160 (available 24/7) and press 0 and local accommodation and transport will be arranged for you.

Please do not go to an emergency relief centre unless it is your only safe option. If you do have to attend, please wear a face mask and keep 1.5 metres between you and others and immediately advise the centre management that you need to isolate away from everyone and please contact your Local Public Health Unit or 1300 651 160 (available 24/7) and press 0 for further advice.

Floods and your health

There are a lot of things to consider when returning home after a flood.

Skin contact with floodwater and mud from floodwater can cause illness and skin infections.  

If you are injured or suffer a cut during your clean up; clean the wound and contact your doctor immediately.  

Flooding can cause sewage to overflow inside your home.  

Contact with sewage can make people sick, so contaminated areas must be cleaned and disinfected. And it is best to keep children and pets away until the area is cleaned up.

People’s private water supplies may also be contaminated from floodwater, debris and chemicals.  

If your water supply tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not use it for drinking, preparing food, and do not give it to animals. Use bottled water. Boiling water will not make it safe to drink.  

Flooding can also cause excessive mould growth which must be cleaned up before moving back to your home.

Some people are particularly vulnerable to mould:  

  • children (under 12 years, particularly babies)
  • pregnant women
  • people over 65 years of age
  • and people with weakened immune systems, allergies, severe asthma or lung diseases.

These people should not be present when you clean up.

People should also be aware that wild animals like rodents, snakes or spiders may be trapped in your home, shed or garden. If you get bitten or injured by an animal or insect again speak with your doctor.  

Mosquitoes can also breed rapidly in stagnant waters. So drain any water from containers such as plant pots, tyres, buckets, and roof gutters to control mosquitos around your home.

Wastewater systems including septic tanks and their absorption area can be weakened by a flood, so do not drive or walk over them. And damaged gas or electricity supplies need to be declared safe by a qualified electrician or plumber.

Food safety should also be considered and ALL food that has been flood damaged should be thrown away – including canned and packaged foods. Medicines, stored at home and affected by flood water may now be unsafe and extreme caution should be taken in trying to salvage any medicines.

More information about how to safely return home after a flood is available on the Better Health Channel.

Personal wellbeing

 It is normal to have strong reactions following an emergency or distressing event, and 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 from the strong emotional or physical reactions you may be experiencing.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Or contact:

  • Your doctor or local community health centre  
  • A Counsellor or Psychologist
  • Parentline on 13 22 89 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
  • NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24 – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service on 1800 333 497

Ladder safety

If you need to secure your property or check for storm damage, remember your own safety. Ladder falls can lead to serious injury or death, so avoid using ladders in stormy, windy or wet conditions when you or the ladder can slip or fall.

Stay safe and call for help, or contact Victorian State Emergency Service Victoria on 132 500 for emergency flood or storm assistance.  

Life support and power failures

The Department of Health works with energy providers to ensure those customers dependent on power are checked on.   

During a power outage, people on life support who require access to power for medical reasons should enact their personal contingency plan. People should speak to their doctor if they have any concerns.   

In a life-threatening emergency, contact Triple Zero (000).   

Insurance

If you have property or contents insurance, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the flood.

  • 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 at www.disasters.org.au.

For further details on insurance advice see Understand Insurance.

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. Visit orangedoor.vic.gov.au
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provides confidential support for  women and children living with family violence. Call 1800 015 188 or visit safesteps.org.au  
  • The Men’s Referral Service is a confidential telephone service for men who might be using violence towards a family member or who have been victimised by a partner or family member. Call 1300 766 491 or visit mrs.org.au
  • Call 000 if you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger.

General power outage and health messages 

Food safety is important during power outages. Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch, it can be kept and eaten for up to four hours and then it must be thrown away. 

Foods such as poultry, meat and dairy products must be kept chilled. If you are without electricity and the use of your refrigerator, suggestions include: 

  • Try to keep cold and frozen food as cold as possible. If food is still cold to touch, less than 5°C, it is safe to use. Once cold or frozen food is no longer cold to touch, 5°C or above, it can be kept and eaten for up to four hours and then it must be thrown away. 
  • If you don’t know how long your food has been unfrozen or not cold to the touch, throw it away. 
  • Eat hot food within four hours of it being hot or throw it away. 
  • If available, put bagged ice under food packages and trays stored in freezers and fridges if power failure lasts more than 1 hour. 
  • Only open fridge and freezer doors when absolutely necessary, this will keep the food and air temperature colder for longer.  

Portable outdoor gas appliances should never be used indoors. Remember BBQ heat beads produce carbon monoxide and should never be used inside for cooking or heating purposes.

Please download this food safety fact sheet for more information.

Using a generator safely during a power outage

Do not use a portable generator indoors. Petrol or diesel powered generators can produce carbon monoxide gas which is invisible and you cannot smell it. If it builds up in the home, garage or caravan it can cause sudden illness, loss of consciousness and death.   

For more information, visit the Better Health Channel. Call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 6060 24 or see your doctor if you are unwell. In an emergency or life threatening situation, call Triple Zero (000).  

Please download the below fact sheets for more information:

Coping without electricity

Interruptions to your gas or electricity supply can affect your daily life for a short or long time. You may have to think of new ways to continue bathing, eating and keeping warm.  

During a blackout, switch off all electrical appliances (especially those that have heating elements) and unplug ‘surge-sensitive’ equipment such as computers.  

Keep one light switch turned on so you know when the power returns.  

Turn on a battery-operated radio and listen to a local radio station for information.  

When the power goes out, people on life support who require access to power for medical reasons should enact their personal contingency plan.   

People should speak to their doctor if they have any concerns. In a life threatening emergency, contact Triple Zero (000).  

Septic tanks during power failures and floods

 If you suspect your wastewater system has been affected by power outage, contact a licensed plumbing practitioner or service agent to have it assessed. 

Until you are certain your septic system is working properly, minimise your water use. 

Do not enter the pump chamber: gases from decaying sewage inside pump chambers are toxic and can be fatal.

Please visit the websites below for more information:

Water safety

Avoid contact with floodwaters.  

As pool water may be contaminated with flood water, it would be best not to use the pool until it is checked. There are many issues that need to be considered when a swimming pool has been affected by floodwaters. Dangerous hazards, such as electrical safety and fencing, need to be assessed first to prevent accidental drowning. It is likely that the pool water will be heavily contaminated, so treatment is necessary to prevent growth of bacteria and breeding of pests such as mosquitoes. 

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