Bushfire Recovery

Supporting communities and businesses to recover from the 2019/2020 bushfires

Alpine Recovery Hub

The Alpine Recovery Hub is now open and can provide support to all local businesses and community members in the Alpine Shire. 

The hub offers links to free business advice, support with accessing and applying for grants and financial counselling to get your business back on its feet after the fires.

Shelley Herman, Alpine Hub Coordinator, can also link community members to mental health and wellbeing support, free of charge. 

The Hub is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and from 9:30am to 2:30pm on Fridays. It is also open on market days – every third Saturday of the month. 

To ensure social distancing requirements, please call ahead to make an appointment. After hours and before hours appointments can be made and are most welcome. 

Speak with Shelley today by calling 0429 529 700 or emailing alpinehub@brv.vic.gov.au.

The Alpine Hub is located in the old chocolate shop at 8/3 Riverside Walk in Bright, behind the Bright Medical Centre.

Newsletters and updates

Rate Relief

Council has received $1.2m funding from the Victorian Government’s Council Assistance Fund. These funds have been made available to the six local government areas in the declared State of Disaster area and can be used by Council to waive part of the 2019/20 rates raised in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989.

Rate relief is intended to alleviate the financial hardship experienced by ratepayers who have lost property or significant business income due to the January 2020 bushfires.

Who will receive rate relief?

Council has approved the use of this funding to automatically waive one quarter of the rates levied for the 2019/20 financial year for properties covered by the following:

  • Commercial / Industrial Differential Rate policy – non-vacant only
  • Dinner Plan Special Rate
  • Farming Differential Rate Policy – non-vacant, for commercial wineries / vineyards only

Council has also approved an automatic full waiver of annual rates levied for the 2019/20 financial year for all properties that have been directly impacted (burnt) during the bushfires.

All ratepayers identified above will be notified of their rate relief by mail. Letters will be posted during the first week of March 2020.

Fee Relief

Council adopts fees for a range of regulatory functions each year as part of the annual budget process. 

This includes registration fees for food premises, caravan parks, health and beauty businesses as well as footpath advertising, trading and dining permits. In addition, Council charges fees for planning and building permit applications.

Council will refund all fees collected under the Food Act 1984, Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and Community Local Law 2019. This is for any fees charged during the 2019/20 financial year for Alpine Shire businesses, and includes food business and caravan park registration, signage, footpath trading and on-street dining. 

Businesses still need to be registered with Council in accordance with the various Acts, and provide any supporting information, such as copies of Public Liability Insurance if required. 

Council will send cheques out to businesses that have already paid any eligible fees during the current financial year. It is anticipated that this will be complete before the end of March. 

In addition, Council will pay any applicable building and planning permit fees for rebuilding assets directly impacted by the fires, for any application made prior to 30 June 2021. 

Federal Government Disaster Recovery Assistance

Alpine Shire residents are now eligible to receive Federal Government Disaster Recovery Assistance. A Disaster Recovery Allowance is available for people who can show they have lost income as a direct result of the bushfires. You may be eligible for up to 13 weeks financial support.

Council has advocated strongly for this funding to be made available to our communities. More information, including how to apply, is available on the Department of Human Service website.

Concessional Loans

Applications are now open for concessional loans of up to $500,000 to support small business, primary producers and non-profit organisations impacted by the Victorian bushfires.
 
Rural Finance will administer these loans. Affected entities can now apply through their website.
 
These loans are for entities which have suffered significant damage to their assets and/or a significant loss of income as a direct result of the fires.

Funding may be used for:

  • Repairing or replacing plant and equipment or buildings
  • Purchasing livestock to replace those lost
  • Paying bills, salaries, wages, rent or rates
  • Buying fodder and water for livestock or produce, or transporting livestock (associated with a primary production enterprise).

Contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 for more information.

Other financial assistance

Information will be provided here once Council receives notification of grants and assistance available.

The Bushfire Support Finder is a vaulable tool to dentify and understand what financial support may be available to you, your business and your community. It only takes five minutes to complete.

There are currently various forms of financial assistance being made available. You can find out more by clicking here. People who lost their homes in a bushfire may be eligible for an emergency grant of $5000. Visit redcross.org.au/grants and register your contact details.

  • The Australian Banking Association is encouraging individuals and businesses suffering from financial hardship due to bushfires to contact their banking institution to receive assistance in the form of deferred loan payments, waived fees and bank charges, assistance with debt and more. For more information, call your bank today or find your bank’s hardship team by clicking here

If you are finding it hard to make ends meet and need assistance the following organisations are available to you:

  • Salvation Army: 1300 662 217
  • Mount Beauty Emergency Relief / Anglicare Victoria provides emergency relief to community members by phone 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday: 0458 550 450

Bushfire counselling help

A new Bushfire Counselling Line has been set up for affected areas in the North East. The line will be manned by experienced clinicians Monday -Friday from 9am to 6pm. These clinicians will provide direct advice, consultation and referral as required to local services.

Where to go and who can help?
Please call the Bushfire Counselling Phone Line on 1300 514 811 between 9am-6pm Mon-Fri to access free counselling services and advice on options.

For urgent assistance, speak to your GP, local health professional or call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Mental Health Crisis: 1300 881 104

For online or phone and app support

  • headtohealth.gov.au
  • smilingminds.com.au
  • moodgym.com.au
  • mindspot.org.au

Bushfire case support program

After a bushfire, sometimes people are unsure of what to do next. The Department of Health and Humans Services Bushfire case support program provides practical support for people who have been affected by the Victorian bushfires.

Case Support Coordinators can help you with:

  • Discussing your needs and the next steps you could take
  • Information and support to access services
  • Completing paperwork
  • Community information
  • Financial counselling and assistance with insurance
  • Advice for business owners
  • A small amount of financial support to help with immediate needs

Support can be provided face to face, over the phone or at a location that suits you.

Who is it for?

People from bushfire impacted areas in East Gippsland and North East Victoria.

How much does this program cost?

This is a free service.

How can I access this program?

To access this program or find out more:

Call: 1800 560 760 - 8am – 6pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm on weekends

Email: bushfirerecovery@windermere.org.au

More information

The Bushfire case support program is funded by the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and the Victorian Government.

Information for businesses

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry assistance

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the Victorian Chamber) and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) have established a 12-month, $500,000 support package to assist businesses affected by the Victorian bushfires.
All services under this support package will be provided at no cost to any business in a Victorian natural disaster declared area, including:
• Mental health support with access to a confidential counselling service
• Access to our local training and business mentoring, with a focus on health, safety and wellbeing courses and business restoration
• Access to our Workplace Relations Advice Line
• Membership fee waiver for Victorian Chamber and VTIC members for the next 12 months.

More information is available on the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.

Disaster Legal Help Victoria

Call Disaster Legal Help Victoria on 1800 113 432 for free information about your legal issues and options for ongoing assistance. The Get help section contains legal information covering the most common areas of legal concern to those affected by disasters.

Legal problems can surface quickly during and after a bushfire. Disaster Legal Help is available to help Victorians affected by the recent bushfire with issues including:

  • Dealing with insurance claims
  • Replacing lost or destroyed documents, including wills and titles
  • Tenancy issues, such as disputes with landlords and outstanding rent
  • Debt and other financial problems resulting from loss of employment and the cost of dealing with the aftermath of a disaster.

VIC Land Registry Services

The Victorian Land Registry Services will waive all property title and search related fees for properties damaged by bushfire.

If you have been affected by the recent bushfires in Victoria and would benefit from access to land and property information from the land titles register, please call a dedicated LANDATA® Contact Centre on 03 9102 0402 or email VLRSbushfiresupport@victorianlrs.com.au to discuss how they can assist you.

Fact sheets

There are a number of fact sheets which may help you. They are available in various languages.

For help with English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on free call 131 450.

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