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Bushfire funding available to protect land, water and farm assets

A number of agencies responsible for managing the region’s natural resources are continuing to work together to support people affected by the February 2009 bushfires, a year after the event.

The Port Phillip and Westernport CMA in conjunction with local governments, Department of Primary Industries, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Landcare and Melbourne Water are directing Australian Government funds and providing advice to those affected by the bushfires. They would like to hear from landholders in Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Yarra Ranges or Cardinia and Baw Baw shires who would like help with property recovery.

On the spot small grants of up to $5,000 are available for landholders to undertake activities that meet the criteria, and some landholders may receive for more than $5,000 in special cases.

Landholders and property owners may wonder: 
  • What is that unusual plant growing on my land since the fires? 
  • Are these weeds going to be a problem? 
  • There seem to be lots of rabbits appearing recently, what should I do? 
  • I have bushland patches and a waterway on my land. Can I do anything to help these areas recover?

There are people who can help provide answers to these questions and property owners may also be eligible for funding to assist with this work.

Port Phillip and Westernport CMA Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Sarah Canham says “Many of the issues surrounding bushfire recovery and property management after bushfire are starting to appear now. There have been some obvious ongoing issues like fencing, erosion and water quality concerns, but other problems like controlling weeds and rabbits are now appearing.

“For many property owners in the bushfire affected area these issues continue to need attention and our bushfire recovery program is designed to help provide answers, and where possible funding and assistance, for some of those issues. Anyone looking for this type of assistance should contact us.”

What can be provided? 
  • One-to-one advice regarding recovery on properties 
  • Property Recovery Plans 
  • Information sessions and practical field days 
  • Funding, technical advice and labour assistance with property recovery as determined during a site visit

What will it involve?
A Field Officer will come to landholder’s property and gather information about what was it was like before the bushfire. Landholders can also discuss any issues they have. The Field Officer will provide advice about what may occur in the coming months due to the weather and time of year, and discuss options for managing problems.

The Field Officer can also provide a Property Recovery Plan. The Property Recovery Plan includes a table of actions, an aerial map of the property, and details any problems caused by the bushfire.

The map and Plan provides a record of what activities may need to be addressed. For example, replacing fencing along the waterway to protect it from stock, control of weeds or minimising soil erosion.

What other assistance can be provided?
Some assets on landholder properties may also be considered an environmental priority for protection. Where these are identified during the site visit, the landholder may be eligible for funding.

There is also a volunteer program to assist landholders with what needs to be done to implement the recovery plan.

Landholder Information Sessions will continue to be held across the bushfire areas over the coming months. These events will be promoted through a variety of channels including the DHS Case Managers, the Local Shires and Recovery Centres. Anyone is welcome to attend these events and we encourage all to come along and share issues, questions and suggestions.
Release Date10 February 2010
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