Please note the following responses to Frequently Asked Questions raised at emergency preparedness community meetings. While some of these questions relate to specific communities (i.e., coastal areas), we hope that this list will answer any questions you have following a period of prolonged emergency recovery throughout Wellington Shire.
Find Frequently Asked Questions below, or you can download the FAQ document by clicking on the button provided.
How are Community Recovery Committees (CRCs) formed?
In 2021 Wellington Shire Council held preparedness information sessions in communities that were heavily impacted by the June 2021 storm and flood event, including Gormandale/Carrajung, Devon North, Loch Sport, and others. Based on expressions of interest Received, Community Recovery Committees were formed in these locations.
These CRCs have developed significant emergency planning and preparedness outcomes in this time, including the production of emergency guide maps, signage, and improvements to community facilities to support improved community resilience.
Wellington Shire Council continues to work with four Community Recovery Committees across the municipality - Coastal, Seaspray and Golden Beach, and Carrajung, Loch Sport and Devon North to identify and progress emergency recovery and preparedness initiatives and programs.
Does Council consider previous emergency plans and resilience programs in its future planning, and how can community members engage in this process?
Previous emergency preparation, mitigation and planning work is considered across all Wellington communities through the Wellington Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee and Municipal Fire Management Advisory Group. Both groups are made up of representatives from emergency services and support agencies across Council and the community.
Local Community Recovery Committees (CRCs) and Community Emergency Planning Committees continue supporting and building on this work. Any member of the public who has feedback about emergency planning should contact their local CRC, Community Emergency Planning Committee or Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244.
Can an emergency plan and map be placed in community information boards?
If an up-to-date emergency plan or map exists or is developed by the community, a Community Recovery Committee, or an emergency services agency, it can be distributed to all relevant notice boards.
How should the community organise a Get Techy Get Ready preparedness session?
Please contact Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244 to arrange a session.
Where are emergency evacuation points?
Communities do not have designated evacuation points. If you are directed to evacuate by the Incident Controller or Victoria Police, you need to leave the area completely. To assist anyone needing to evacuate, Victoria Police may direct Wellington Shire Council to open an Emergency Relief Centre. In Wellington Shire, these locations are pre-determined in advance. Approved locations include the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex (GRSC) in Sale, the Sale Baptist Church, and Walpole Stadium in Yarram. Information advising which Emergency Relief Centre is open for use is always included in emergency warning messaging issued by VicEmergency.
Has there been any progress to establish an emergency hub in Loch Sport?
The Loch Sport Public Hall is being developed to provide additional support to the local community during and after emergencies. Thanks to a Victorian Government grant, the Loch Sport Hall will receive an Energy Resilience Solutions back-up power system to support this project. The system will include solar panels, battery storage, and a backup generator. This project is being led by the Victorian Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA). In addition to this, the hall’s heating and cooling is being upgraded with support from Wellington Shire Council.
Why do Neighbourhood Safer Places have no toilets or sprinkler systems to protect attendees?
Leaving early is always the preferred option. It is not a requirement that toilet facilities are provided at Neighbourhood Safer Places because they are purely a place of absolute last resort. That is, if you cannot shelter at home or leave the area. For further information visit the CFA website here.
Is it possible to get fire pump trailers set up in strategic locations on a permanent basis?
Please contact the CFA to discuss.
How can a community organise a generator for an emergency?
Community groups can seek to hire generators in emergency situations if appropriate. Alternatively, if you have a project proposal involving installing generators at a local community facility, please contact Wellington Shire Council’s Emergency Management team on 1300 366 244 to discuss.
How do I request a fire break to be constructed in my community? Can they be added to reduce bushfire risk to a township?
If you or your community have a query or request about fire protection or mitigation, you can write to the Wellington Municipal Fire Management Advisory Group at email@example.com. This group is made up of representatives from the CFA, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Victoria Police, Department of Transport and Planning (DTP), HVP Plantations and Wellington Shire Council. Requests will be tabled at the next meeting for consideration and discussion.
Can access for emergency vehicles be improved by removing vegetation over roads?
If you believe that emergency service vehicles cannot gain access via a Council road due to vegetation overgrowth, please submit a Customer Action Request Form via the Wellington Shire Council website here.
Can fallen trees on roadsides be addressed to reduce fire risk?
Yes, however the responsible agency depends on the location of the fallen tree. You can contact Wellington Shire Council for advice or to report a fallen tree on a Council road.
Can the high-risk Leptospermum (Tea Tree) located throughout coastal townships be cleared to reduce fire risk?
Please see information about native vegetation removal via the Wellington Shire Council website here.
Which agency is responsible for keeping reserves between houses cleared? Does Council maintain the vegetation on Council owned land, including walking and access tracks?
Please contact Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244 to be connected to the most appropriate officer to help with queries regarding land management and maintenance.
Which agency maintains the area between the back of Seagull Drive in Loch Sport and the lake (between Council land and the water)?
The land located between Seagull drive and the lake in Loch Sport is made up of Council owned reserves and Crown Land. This Crown Land follows the current foreshore, and the responsible authority is the Victorian Government via the Department of Energy, Environment, and Climate Action (DEECA).
What is the process for maintaining trees on nature strips overhanging powerlines?
AusNet has the responsibility for clearing and maintaining vegetation around powerlines and has a program of works in place to provide maintenance across the Shire. Further information can be found via Ausnet’s website here.
Which agency is responsible for maintaining vegetation in National Parks and Coastal Parks such as the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park
The Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park is managed by Parks Victoria.
The Longford-Loch Sport Road needs roadside clearing – can it be widened and cleared of vegetation?
The Longford-Loch Sport Road is managed and maintained by the Victorian Government via the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). Any requests for vegetation maintenance should be referred to DTP as the responsible authority.
What can I do if fire trucks don’t have access to my property?
All landowners are required to maintain emergency service access to their properties. More information about access requirements is available via the CFA here.
What is the process to make sure all homes can be identified and have visible street numbers?
Street numbers are vital for property identification purposes, particularly for Police, Fire, Ambulance and SES to locate and access properties in an emergency. Owners and occupiers of all properties are encouraged to have a street number properly displayed at the front of their house. If you are not sure of your correct property number, please contact Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244 and your it can be confirmed.
If I have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, what can I do to support them in an emergency?
All residents should be prepared for an emergency and some people might need more assistance to prepare their emergency plan. If you know someone who needs assistance planning to leave early, especially someone living alone, please talk to them about how you could help or any assistance they may need. The CFA has further information available on their website which may help you to have this conversation here.
Can contractors receive green waste coupons to dispose of commercial quantities of green waste for no-fee on behalf of property owners without an appropriate vehicle?
No, they can’t. The annual no-fee green waste disposal period is for residential properties only. Commercial businesses disposing of green waste are charged standard gate fees. This includes commercial businesses who are completing clean up works during the month of November.
Can ‘no-fee green waste’ be provided all year round or can residents be provided with green waste bins to assist with fire preparedness? Not everyone can afford continual tip fees.
Council is currently in the planning process for the introduction of a FOGO or ‘green waste’ bin as part of its kerbside collection service. You can find out more here. In the meantime, if you can’t take your green waste to a waste facility, you can put smaller quantities in your kerbside general waste bin.
What does a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) rating mean for new builds?
A Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) is a way of measuring the severity of a building’s potential exposure to ember attack, radiant heat, and direct flame contact. There are six Bushfire Attack Levels that form part of the Australian Standard for construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas (AS 3959-2018): BAL-LOW, BAL-12.5, BAL-19, BAL-29, BAL-40, BAL- FZ (Flame Zone). The higher the BAL rating, the higher the standard of construction and bushfire mitigation measures need to be in place. You can read more here.
Why do new home builds require 10,000 litres of water for firefighting purposes? Can agencies use coastal waterways to guarantee water supply where relevant?
The minimum requirement under Victorian government planning provisions is a 10,000 litre (per dwelling) water supply for firefighting purposes. In areas without reticulated water, it may be difficult to secure or access water, so it is important that an adequate water supply is readily available for firefighting purposes. For further information click here.
Can street lighting around some townships be improved?
Street lighting is designed and installed to the standard of the time. Wellington Shire Council is responsible for managing and maintaining the current level of lighting and any improvement on this level of service must be delivered via a Special Charge Scheme. Special Charge Schemes for lighting are fully funded by the recipient of the scheme and subject to broader community support.
Can old or rusty defibrillator (AED) cabinets be replaced?
Ambulance Victoria is the responsible agency and can assist with grants for new AEDs and cabinets. Click here for further information.
Can wooden power poles be upgraded to concrete to improve their likelihood of surviving a bushfire?
Wellington Shire Council has advocated to AusNet as the responsible authority for a review of wooden power poles. It has been requested that Ausnet considers changing current wooden poles with a more fire resilient structure.
Update December 29 2023 - When asked about recent emergency events in Wellington Shire, AusNet reported to Council that no poles were damaged in the Briagolong bushfire (Oct 2023) and at Loch Sport, replacement poles are concrete.
Residents should also note that usual process is for replacements to occur on a like-for-like basis unless there is a change in risk profile.
For further information click here.
What is Council’s plan to fix issues at the Boulevard Boat Ramp in Loch Sport.
Wellington Shire Council is aware of sand and erosion issues at some Council-owned boat ramps in Loch Sport. Funding from Better Boating Victoria has been allocated to complete remediation works, with work to progress following consent from the Victorian Government via the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action. Works are planned to start early 2024, subject to receiving appropriate approvals.
Does Council support a proposal for a safe boat harbour in Loch Sport?
Council has advocated for more than a decade for state government agencies to consider improved boating and mooring opportunities in Loch Sport. The Victorian Government’s Better Boating Victoria has acknowledged this desire in its Victorian Recreational Boating Strategy 2021-30, indicating previously that the agency will continue to engage with the local community regarding opportunities for improvements. Wellington Shire Council does not have any plans or budget to progress a new safe harbour or marina in any coastal town, especially considering that on-water assets like safe harbours or marinas are usually owned or operated privately or by the relevant port authority.
At the time of writing, Darren Chester MP, Federal Member for Gippsland has advised that he will host a summit with the Victorian Government (via Better Boating Victoria), Gippsland Ports (as the relevant authority) and the local community to discuss opportunities to progress a safe harbour project. Wellington Shire Council is supportive of this approach.
What does it mean when the CFA siren goes off? It can’t be heard in some parts of town.
Please visit the CFA website here for an explanation and advice about Community Alert Sirens.
What is the process to fight a fire and what should I do?
What should I do if I can’t leave in an emergency?
Leaving early is always the safest option to protect yourself and your family. It is also important to think about what action you will take in an emergency well in advance. This can be done by preparing a written, well-practised plan to help you remember what needs to be done during a crisis. The CFA has resources available on its website to help you develop your plan.
Which agency will assist people to leave at the last minute during an emergency?
While Victoria Police is responsible for community evacuations, the message is that leaving early is always the safest option. For further information visit Victoria Police’s website here.
Can masks be provided to the community during a bushfire?
When it is smoky outside, you should take steps to reduce your exposure to smoke by staying indoors. If you can’t avoid being outside, special face masks called P2/N95/KN95 masks filter smoke and give your lungs better protection. You can buy these from most hardware stores.
If the location of a petrol station presents a bushfire risk, can anything be done?
No, particularly if a service station is an established, local business. Service stations are required to adhere to a range of legislation and Australian Standards to reduce the fire risk associated with the storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids.
What can be done if a Telstra tower loses transmission?
Please contact Telstra directly on 13 22 00 or visit the Telstra website here.
When will roads impacted by recent emergencies be reopened?
Roads closed due to emergency events are subject to completion of a safety inspection prior to reopening to the public. If you have a specific query, please contact Wellington Shire Council directly.
Does Wellington Shire Council hold Council Meetings outside of Sale? This used to occur around 10 years ago.
Council discontinued town hall type meetings which had previously been held throughout the municipality. Wellington Shire Council utilises its Councillor Conversation program to visit local communities - spending time with a range of community groups including business associations, Neighbourhood Houses, RSLs, and Committees of Management to name a few. This approach provides Councillors and Council staff with a deeper understanding of issues and opportunities that are unique to each community.