Council welcomes $10 million in federal government funding for disaster preparedness

The Council has welcomed $10 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government to implement its Resilient Yarra Ranges project.

The project aims to help the Yarra Ranges community better understand and deal with hazardous weather events such as bushfires.

The Mayor of Yarra Ranges, Cr Jim Child, said the funding will increase disaster preparedness, risk management, recovery and the overall future resilience of Yarra Ranges communities.

“We are extremely grateful that the Federal Government has recognized the importance of this issue, particularly as we approach the first anniversary of the catastrophic storms that hit the Dandenong Ranges,” said Cr Child.

“Emergency response is as much about preparation and planning as it is about the actual response and the cleanup itself. This funding will therefore go a long way in helping us plan for and protect our communities in the event of any future emergency that may arise.

“I would also like to thank our outgoing MP for Casey, MP Tony Smith, who has been a wonderful local representative for us.

“Tony has been a great advocate for our community for a long time and has helped us advocate for better funding and better services in our municipality.

“It is a perfect example of the excellent working relationship we have with our counterparts at different levels of government.”

Cr Child also acknowledged that the Council and its community still needed additional support to help recover from the 2021 storm.

“We recognize that we still have a lot of work to do to recover from last year’s devastating storms and we continue to work hard to seek much-needed government assistance to support this recovery.”

The Resilient Yarra Ranges project is divided into seven key areas:

Place-Based Resilience Planning – Will bring together communities, local businesses, support organizations and agencies in Monbulk, Healesville, Yarra Junction and surrounding areas to benchmark and build resilience.

Tree Management and Cleanup – Funding requested to complete cleanup of open spaces and Council bush after the 2021 storm, as well as to implement a proactive tree management program in high risk areas.

Resilient Energy District – A joint venture between the University and Monash Council to assess the feasibility of a resilient micro-grid in essential buildings in Monbulk.

Resilient Buildings – Several Council community buildings that serve as emergency relief centers will be upgraded with a generator hook-up point and/or solar power capabilities.

Changing room facility – Provides suitable facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets at Kilsyth Sports Centre, which is also a designated emergency relief centre. This addresses a need to provide emergency facilities for people who cannot use standard accessible facilities.

Bushfire Risk Assessment – A bushfire risk assessment will be commissioned for areas of the Dandenong Ranges affected by the 2021 storm which will assist in the rebuilding process.

Emergency Relief Network – Will strengthen the role and involvement of the Yarra Ranges Emergency Relief Network to provide better coordinated support and material relief resources in the Yarra Ranges.

Funding for the project is part of the Commonwealth Government’s $600 million Australian Community Preparedness Program, which is a six-year investment to build the nation’s resilience to natural disasters.

The Council looks forward to planning and implementing the above priorities which will support community preparedness for future weather events in the Yarra Ranges.

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